Casino Du Liban

A land­mark rec­og­nized the world over, LT ex­plores the in­cred­i­ble story of the Casino du Liban

Lebanon Traveler - - CONTENTS - casin­

The story of Le­banon's iconic land­mark

Perched on a rocky hill in Maameltein, a 20km drive north of Beirut, stands the larger-than-life Casino du Liban. With an en­vi­able view of the coast­line, it oc­cu­pies a mas­sive 35,000 square-me­ter plot of land and re­mains the only gam­ing venue in the en­tire MENA re­gion.

The Casino opened its doors on De­cem­ber 17, 1959, and, in the blink of an eye, blended the magic and au­then­tic­ity of the East with the cul­ture of the West. In­deed, the al­lure of its lo­ca­tion cou­pled with a lav­ishly dec­o­rated in­te­rior at­tracted the world’s jet­set­ters, who would come from far and wide to revel in its op­u­lence.

The renowned Salle des Am­bas­sadeurs per­for­mance hall saw pro­duc­ers of the big­gest Euro­pean and Amer­i­can shows queu­ing to stage a per­for­mance. Man­age­ment even con­vinced the or­ga­niz­ers of the cov­eted Miss Europe to host the event there, which they gladly did be­tween 1960 and 1965, a world first. The salle was ren­o­vated in 1964, in­cor­po­rat­ing the lat­est tech­nolo­gies and in­creas­ing its seat­ing ca­pac­ity to 850 spec­ta­tors with ad­di­tional chang­ing rooms to ac­com­mo­date 200 per­form­ers. Some six years later, Miss Le­banon 1971 was held there and the win­ner, Ge­orgina Rizk, was later crowned Miss Uni­verse.

Sadly, the out­break of the Le­banese Civil War in 1975 saw the Casino shut­ting its doors for over a decade, and it was not un­til 1989 that the de­ci­sion was taken to fix the dam­age. The venue un­der­went a mas­sive 50 mil­lion USD re­fur­bish­ment, which was fi­nally com­pleted at the end of 1996.

Through­out its his­tory, the Casino du Liban has been a play­ground for the world’s rich and fa­mous. To­day, the venue con­tin­ues to have an im­por­tant role, host­ing dance troupes, mu­sic le­gends and count­less cul­tural events all year round.

Charles Az­navour

A glam­orous show

Mod­ern day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lebanon

© PressReader. All rights reserved.