Achrafieh is located in eastern Beirut. It is the name of a district and a sector, or neighbourhood, within that district. It is essentially a residential area characterized by narrow winding streets, coffee shops and prestigious large apartment and office buildings. It is a prime location for investment and tourism.
Until the 1930s, Achrafieh was largely composed of farmland owned and farmed by several Greek Orthodox Christian families. Achrafieh used to be ruled by seven socially and economically prominent Greek Orthodox Christian families that formed Beirut's High Society for centuries: Trad, Fernaine, Gebeili, Bustros, Sursock, Fayad, Tueini,
Prominent locations and popular sights in the area include: Sassine Square, an important political, social and commercial focal points of the Lebanese capital; St Nicolas (where important buildings include the Sursock House, Sursock Museum, the Sofil Center and the Ivory building); and Tabaris Square/ Abdel Wahab (among its important buildings: 812 Tabaris, Achrafieh Tower, Yared buildings, Metropolis, L'Hermitage, Sight II, Achrafieh Heights, Fayad Buildings, Fal Towers, Asmar Buildings, Samaha Buildings, Jardins de Tabaris, Saab Buildings,Tilal Beirut).
During Lebanon's 1975-1990 Civil War, a substantial portion of Achrafieh's architectural heritage was wiped out. Even now, and despite efforts by non-profit organisations, demolition teams continue to tear down old houses and bulldoze hundred-year-old gardens in Achrafieh and surrounding neighbourhoods in east as well as west Beirut to make way for new towers. Modern skyscrapers are replacing these old mansions, overshadowing the few heritage sites left.
A new bill however was passed in 2017 by the Lebanese government to protect heritage sites around the city, marking a historical turning point for activists who have pressed for legislative action since the end of the war.
During the Lebanese Civil War Achrafieh became a major strategic base for Christian forces. Large numbers of Lebanese Forces militiamen were stationed there, led by former Lebanese president Bachir Gemayel, and as such formed part of Christian East Beirut.
Schools and universities:
Notable People from AchrafiehEdit
- Bachir Gemayel, former Lebanese president, born in Achrafieh
- Michel Sassine, Prominent Lebanese politician, MP for the district of Beirut for 24 years (1968-1992)
- Gebran Tueini, former editor and publisher of the daily paper An-Nahar
- Nayla Tueni, parliament member and publisher of the daily paper An-Nahar, daughter of Gebran Tueini
- Joe Kodeih, writer, actor and director
- Nancy Ajram, singer
- Samir Assaf, CEO of HSBC Global Banking & Markets
- Annabella Hilal, TV presenter, model
- Nadim Gemayel, parliament member
- Maya Diab, singer
Notable Neighbourhoods and StreetsEdit
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Ashrafieh.|
- Article on the history of Ashrafieh and how it evolved through time - Interview with Former Ashrafieh MP Michel Sassine (December 2011): https://www.scribd.com/doc/77669439/Interview-on-the-History-of-Achrafieh-with-HE-Michel-Sassine-Dec-2011