There are few places I love in this world as much as Beirut. It has an inexplicable appeal that gives me a rush of adrenaline even as I bake under the heat of the Mediterranean sun.
Last month, my husband, Veken, and I wandered the east side of Beirut starting on Rue Gouraud in the Gemmayze neighborhood. We wandered through the neighborhoods of Mar Mickael, Nor Hadjin, Jetawi, Achraffieh, and Sin el Fil looking for art galleries, book shops, restaurants, and street art.
Most of Beirut is a patchwork of Arab communities (Sunni, Shia, Maronite), but there are pockets of old Armenian neighborhoods, particularly along the Beirut River, where legend has it St. George slew the dragon. Walking on the streets you see the cracks between rich and poor, natives and refugees, one creed and another.
On the best days it feels like the streets are talking to you, saying something you couldn’t hear any other way. That day was one of them.