Middle East

Lebanon’s abandoned Ottoman-era mansions – Green Prophet

Lebanon abandoned house, James Kerwin

Abandoned house in an olive grove, James Kerwin

It’s not unusual for an intrepid foreign explorer to uncover hidden gems in Lebanon. Like Honduras artist Adrian Pepe who explores the design and craft in ancient textile making in Beirut. Now James Kerwin, an Englishman in Lebanon, shows us the scale and beauty of abandoned palaces, mansions, and houses in his photography series called Lebanon Falling. 

I’ve always experienced great joy slipping under a rusting gate in the Levante. Mansions and family homes stay standing, attesting to a more opulent time when conflict and Ikea were unknown to the region. When there was a train between Tel Aviv and Beirut and people’s homes were adorned with handmade crafts and designs from hand-poured cement tiles to hand-painted ceilings with ornate balconies and sheltered gardens.

Kerwin gives us a peek into this past as Lebanon’s traditional architecture lays abandoned and neglected calling out for a younger generation to repair the gaps. Unlike the Disney-like abandoned castles in Turkey, these homes are calling out for repair.

Kerwin says, “There is something about the Lebanese mansion. They are impossible to miss as the first thing which draws you in is the romantic exterior. Once I discovered a disused or abandoned house, it always filled me with excitement, as I never quite knew what was going to be inside. These homes were colorful, fascinating, and historic.”

He elaborates:

“The traditional house in the ottoman style could be hidden anywhere, and in many towns throughout Lebanon. this house typology first flourished in the 19th-century ottoman era and has a special relationship with nature — usually set in and around picturesque landscapes or towns.

“At first glance, such heritage buildings may look alike, but their individual personalities and unique traits can be discerned if one takes a closer look. 

Similar Ottoman era homes can be found in Israel in cities like Jaffa, Haifa and Lod. They were built in the early 19th century when Europeans were settling around the Middle East area. The Europeans settled in the eastern Mediterranean region for trade. This community was known as “Levantine,” which means “eastern Mediterranean” in French.

If you love abandoned buildings and you are in Lebanon some buildings worth checking out include an abandoned Hilton Hotel. Not sure if you can go inside, but you can imagine. 



Source link

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

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