It’s not been easy to post about Beirut with all the carnage happening in Gaza. But that doesn’t mean Lebanese developers have paused their activities. Here are some pictures I took a few weeks ago in Gemmayaze, where a new tower is coming up.

The ruins were discovered during the course of excavation works for the new tower, known as Saifi 477. The dig is on Pasteur street, just below the pubs on the Gourand street strip.

The 21 floor tower will offer apartments ranging from first floor one bedrooms in the $600,000’s to luxury split-level units at over $1.4 million according to the prices on offer at this sale site.

Of course, the developer walls block the excavation off almost entirely from public view and as usual, I got yelled at by site supervisors for trying to take pictures. So also as usual, I could only get a few quick snaps from a nearby building and a brief opening of the gate.

The site sits in the middle of an old neighbourhood, as seen by the red roof buildings nearby–meaning the foundations of previous structures were not very deep, so a lot of the ancient ruins could be preserved in the layers below.

Some suggest the site could be significant, maybe even pre-Roman or stretching back to earlier periods, but it’s impossible to speculate. 
I wonder what the ancient architects who once lived here would make of the $1.4 million homes now up for sale. It would have probably blown their ancient socks off! 
  1. Dear Mr. Battah; I just came across your blog and I am wondering why you did not come to us for answers. My name is Aline Abboud and I could have answered all your queries regarding the finds under SAIFI 477. Our site was mobilized by the ministry of education for 13 months and the “Institut D’archeologie et de fouilles” got full hands working on excavating and documenting whatever finds were discovered. The lead archaeologist, a distinguished French excavator is releasing a book soon on the discoveries made under our site. So again, if you had asked the proper party you would have had your concerns put to ease. The people who shouted at you were not SAIFI 477 staff as we had no access to the site during the excavation works and were banned from taking photos ourselves. As a big fan for old civilizations myself, i do understand your frustration but I kindly ask you to give respect to the developers who are treating archaeology the proper and decent way, especially that you should know that in these cases, it is the developer who pays for every dollar spent on archaeologists salaries, equipment, labor, transportation, documentation…

    1. Thank you for your note Aline. I welcome your feedback and I think my readers would appreciate it very much if you could tell us more about this fascinating discovery. So please do tell us more, and I would be happy to update the post with any information you would like to share.

      On the other hand, it seems like you have taken offense to this post and you find the need to ask me to ‘give respect’ the developers. Can I ask what specifically did you find offensive here?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like