MAR MIKHAEL: BEIRUT’S CREATIVE DISTRICT
Over the last few years, something has been stirring in the suburbs of Beirut. Lebanon’s night owls were becoming restless, hotspots like Hamra and Gemmayzeh were getting crowded and people wanted something new. Lebanon, meet Mar Mikhael (as Beirut’s Creative District that is). Whilst it had always been a residential and industrial area, pubs and restaurants scattered themselves around the district, attracting more and more people. While we all know that it had made a name for itself as a popular nightlife hub, Mar Mikhael has evolved into a creative district, with art and craft workshops, furniture stores and other various quirky places like Spanish book stores and hipster jewellery sellers. Additionally, Mar Mikhael is home to churches, mosques, police stations, hospitals and the Lebanese Electric building. Georges Zouain, head of the Gaia Heritage, told the Daily Star that “Mar Mikhael is one of the last neighbourhoods in Beirut still functioning as an area where poor and rich, cultured and uncultured, big and small communities live together.” In order to aid young Lebanese artists, Gaia put together a variety of creative workshops and exhibitions that ran from the 16th until the 24th January.