Arabic translation in the News section with title خان المدوّر (the Municipality’s reply is included in Arabic and soon to be translated to English).
An-Nahar Newspaper source:http://www.annahar.com/content.php?priority=1&table=beea&type=beea&day=Sat
The Only Monument still standing since before the 19th century and an Eye Witness of Jimmayze’s Flourishing
Al Medawar Inn is Under Deconstruction
And Beirut Municipality Isn’t Moving a Muscle
Please Read this article also: Beirut’s Municipality Response to the article (will be published soon):
In Al Medawar neighborhood and old Inn that dates back to sometime before the 19th century is being knocked down for several days and it’s the only landmark left to testify for Beirut’s economic, social, and developmental state in that period.
In details, “Concealium Corp”, Owned by a foreign investor, purchased the real estate n#146 – Al Medawar Real estate area in Jimmayze,which is known for its high historical and cultural value, and located between Charles AL Hilo Station and Pasteur Steert. The corp intended to construct a new building, however it turned out that the current building an old enclosed section built in stones and has been classified as a “Khan” or Inn with its cultural architectural elements still intact. The Inn also includes an indoor squared yard surrounded by rooms and hallways.
When the deconstruction began, the “Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums” took preventive measures and asked Beirut’s Municipality on 2/7/2009 to cease deconstruction. However, no one responded.
Later on, the Directorate resent the request to the governor of Beirut to order the halt of ongoing deconstruction and notifying the owners to report back to the “Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums” and coordinate with it in the matter of conserving the historical ruins and perhaps to merge it with a suggested constructional project. Yet again, there was no response and the works continued to include the majority of the Inn that is feared to collapse any time soon.
Al Khan’s Importance
The importance of this “khan” as stated before is that it dates back to sometime before the 19th century. It was discovered during excavations near “mar Nikoula” stairs, Jimmayze, in 2008, lead by Hisham Sayegh, in cooperation with the board of development of Jimmayze. The building is made of sandstone with a yard in the center as described before. In the past it used to be very close to the beach before the land was extended into the sea, and it was thus used a Marina called Al Medawar Marina which is very close to the present Port of Beirut, and the old picture above was taken from a book called “Beirut, Our Memory” written a hundred years ago by Fouad Dabbas.
Such historical ruins show how the civil and social development of Jimmayze took place, where by the development of Beirut’s port and cleaning its Tanks from sands that went on between 1830 and 1840 made it possible for commercial ships to anchor in it and unload large payloads. Thus, a wide commercial activity was created in that area, and lead to arrival of workers, farmers, and towns’ people to there. Eventually, Beirut’s suburbs where established outside its walls forming Al Jimmayze whose people where mostly Christian, followed by Al Achrafieh. Later on, Al Basta, where Muslim sheiats settled, was established. The point is, these “khan(s)” where stations that travelers and merchants occupied until it was time to move on. Usually, a Khan is built on the sea front such as Khan Al Medawar or Khan AL Ifranj in Saida.
An expert in the field of archeology declared to “An-Nahar” newspaper that there is no official historical text that states when the Inn was built. However, judging from its method of construction, the decorations and carvings in it, and its position on the sea front at the eastern entrance of Beirut city historically, near General GORO’s street and under the Docomanous Romanian Road and right next to Khan Al-Saifi **, it seems that it dates back to sometime before the 19thcentury.
The question remains, why hasn’t Beirut’s Municipality done anything in spite of the two requests of the Directorate? And why haven’t the owners been notified with the consequences of the deconstruction? What’s holding the Municipality from preserving this unique historical building by including it in a project, like all the ruins in central Beirut, to renovate it and include it in new building, giving the new building a special aspect and at the same time preserving Beirut’s History and memory?
- Translated by Mohamad Al Medawar
- Original text in Arabic by May Abdo Abi Akel
**Khan Al-Saifi was renovated during a project called” Saifi Village”