MAR MIKHAEL: BEIRUT’S CRE­ATIVE DIS­TRICT

Ekaruna - - News Round Up -

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.

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