Beirut’s Grand Serail
A trip to Beirut would not be complete without catching a glimpse of the Grand Serail, a stunning building dating back to the Ottoman Empire. This historical building is currently the residence of the Prime Minister of Lebanon and has an exciting history and grandeur.
Lebanese history and the Grand Serail
These days the Grand Serail acts as the government’s headquarters and is heavily protected, which means you will only be able to admire it from the outside. However, the outside view is one to get you unpacking your camera. The Ottoman-era features are architecturally stunning and the Hamidiyyeh Clock Tower, imagined by Lebanese architect Youssef Aftimus, is worth checking out.
This building houses a great deal of history for the Lebanese. It dates back to 1831 when the Egyptians set up a base on top of the strategically placed Serail Hill. Overlooking the sea and Beirut city, it was the perfect spot for them to keep watch for the Ottoman armies. After a number of years, a hospital and courthouse was built at the same location. Unfortunately, during the civil war in the 1900’s, the buildings were severely damaged and had to be restored. In recent years, more renovations have taken place in order to preserve its historical features meaning the buildings are now a mix of Ottoman and contemporary style architecture.
Discovering the area
When making the trip to see the Grand Serail you should pair it with a walking tour of the ruins and architecture in the area. GPSMyCity have a great self-guided walking tour of Beirut’s ruins that will take you from the ancient Roman Baths to the Grand Serail, as well as stopping by Roman columns and the destroyed Fakhreddine Palace.
A short trip away from this historical center is the Radisson Blu Martinez Hotel, Beirut. The hotel offers central and convenient accommodation for those on business and holidaymakers looking to discover Beirut’s charm and history.