Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Permanent Loaning

Lebanese Heritage and Archaeological sites sold to private developers…

In the last two decades, no minister, deputy or a public servant in high position ever vacated without cashing in several millions.

The couple of ministers who worked for the public interests were quickly removed without thanking them for their superior jobs. I have in mind late George Frem and Charbel Nahass.

A single lame inexperienced minister for agriculture was foolish enough to dip in a small US grant and was fast condemned and we never heard of him, just totally disappeared.

Just recently, the minister of public work has purchased over 350 properties.

Many public servants illegally hold several public positions and cash in tons of money and no political party or justice was able to dislodge them from their positions, or even give them a slap on the hand.

I overheard that the President of the republic is building a sumptuous palace in Koura and that his brother Tony, a kaemmakaam to boot it, is slapping gas stations for $50,000 a year “for protection”

The minister of “culture” has been selling off historical sites for private developers.

This petition that has been circulating on FB concerns him.

Petition to replace + sanction Minister of Culture Mr Gaby Layoun

“You are kindly invited to sign the petition that seeks to replace Minister of Culture Mr Gaby Layoun, with another suitable and adequate minister of Culture, and to sanction him.

So far, the current minister:

1-    Has signed the demolition of Dr Ibrahim Medawar building (known as Amine Maalouf’s childhood home) in Badaro, ‘for not meeting the adequate historical, symbolic and architectural heritage criteria’, after previously forbidding its demolition 3 months earlier, following a 63 pages written report and pictures, submitted by the DGA, stating the building ‘meets the necessary characteristics of Heritage criteria’!!…

(Knowing that a panel of 3 of the best specialists in the field, issued later a report confirming the need to preserve the building).

2-   Has Downplayed the robbery of the Jbeil archeological Museum by saying that the stolen artifacts are ‘of little value’. (If so, why are they kept in a Museum ?)

3-   Has Declassified and illegally allowed the demolition of the Phoenician Slipways in Plot 1398 Minet el Hosn (at the location of Venus Tower Buildings) .

4-   Is now seeking to destroy what remains of the Roman Hippodrome of Beirut – Wadi Abou Jmil, (Plots 1370 and 834 Minet el Hosn), under the illusory slogan of dismantling and reconstruction, (presumed reconstitution of not more than 20% of the real findings), for the false purpose of having a Museum inside private property buildings (at the expenses of promoters), stating falsely to the ‘State council’ that only 7.5% of the land covered by the whole Hippodrome is actually not built, and knowing that more than 2/3 of it is still on empty lands.

5- Is seeking to destroy under the same pretense… what remains of the Roman Theater of Beirut – Wadi Abou Jmil, (plots 1410 and 1375 Minet el Hosn) in favor of 2 different private projects.

6-   Has failed to protect the discoveries of District S – DT Beirut, allowing the promoters to mow down the quasi totality of the Hellenistic archaeology discovered there.

7- Has stopped the archaeological excavations in the Landmark site, around Mid June 2013, with around 2/3rd of the site yet its excavation to be done or completed, even though these excavations have already effectively began since 2009.

He then declared the whole land to be expropriated, transferring a request in this regard to the council of ministers, but without issuing any Ministerial decree for classification into the Lebanese Heritage list…, leaving this matter and its preservation issue in limbo.

As well as not even looking for financing from the minister of finances or any other sources to be able at least to continue the excavations properly, and be fixed as for the final contents of this Archaeological site, & take the proper decision as for its preservation in situ.

8-  Has given alone the approval, without obtaining first, the opinion and official report from the DGA, for a sewage storage and pumping station within the Archaeological site of Jiyeh (Porphyreon), in plot 2146 Jiyeh, just at the south limits of its sea front Byzantine Basilica.

9-  Has Permitted the partial deterioration (by opening a door) in the north wall of the historical city of Jbeil, as well as the use of the top part of its main North gate by one of his advisors, who opened a restaurant in this location.

10- Has given the renovation of the Medieval Castle of Jbeil and the one of Smar-Jbeil in Batroun, to an architect / restorer, who happens to be one of the committee members, who decided (in one sentence), that the building of Dr Medawar “Amin Maalouf house” does not meet the adequate architectural heritage criteria.

This architect is ‘supervising’ sub-standard restoration work, without proper studies and supervision by an archaeologist specialized in this Medieval period, negatively affecting the authenticity of both Castles.

And the minister is now covering him up in his wrong doing.

11- Has not reacted in regards to the huge amount of $5 million allocated to the renovation (handled by the CDR) and the remaining archaeological excavations (handled by the DGA) of the Castle of “Chkif-Karnoun” in the South.

12- Has given lately his approval for (arbitrary) archaeological excavations in Mina–Tripoli,

which resumed in the demolition of some Roman and Byzantine columns…

13- Has not done anything for the maintenance, good preservation and protection of Mar Maroun cave in the Hermel, which is left deserted, vandalized and its walls covered by graffiti and tags.

14- Is not doing any weeding, cleaning and maintenance of public archeological sites like the Phoenician Tell, its wall (glacis), the “Small Serail” and the “garden of forgiveness” etc… which seriously endangers all the remains of these sites.

And No explanatory panels are installed in, nor guards are positioned within those sites to protect them…

15- Has permitted the dismantled ruins to be stored within the promoter storages instead of the DGA official ones, which is in principle illegal, especially that no bonds or bank guarantees are provided by the promoters favor account the DGA.

16- Is using the concept of “Permanent Loaning” of Archaeological findings in a way that is just favoring private companies with the false justification of having at the expense of promoters, a Public Museum inside Private buildings, without any bonds or Bank guarantees from owners and especially without putting any corresponding marks on the cadastral land registry, in confirmation of the legal status of the Museum, being an Open Public Place.
In fact, this trend in dismantling and reconstruction (presumed reconstitution within private properties) will transform the few remaining preserved vestiges to just become part of the decoration of the new projects, with no (or insignificant) respect to the original status and stratigraphy of the archaeological sites, totally affecting their authenticity,
and in view of the legal protection of “Private Property”, making their visit by any outsider very difficult, negating the concept of “Open Public Space”.

17-  Gave full coverage to continue archeological excavations in Beirut as done since 2005, in complete violation of the Lebanese Law of Antiquities and the TOR. of the DGA for the almost exclusive benefit of owners and promoters.

The actual result for all of Beirut (including Solidere), being that just 7 Archaeological sites, considered as “Historical Monuments” were, until now, preserved in situ (some of them only partially and some not even maintained), from a total number of around 360 excavated sites? And since 2005 in Beirut, almost no official publication of Archaeological findings (BAAL), as well as almost no more sites handled officially by foreign missions or local universities, (these groups bringing their own financing).

No Preservation + No Publication = No Public Interest & No Future…


18- Is still dealing with Dr Hans Curvers who was Solidere archaeologist since the nineties

and known as “The Lebanese Heritage Demolition Man” (LHDM).

Dr. Curvers who is still in Lebanon, didn’t officially publish not even 10% of the 150 sites that he excavated in all of Solidere area.

19- Has nominated a ministerial advisory committee to report directly to him, for all matters concerning Antiquities, instead of appointing experts in Archaeology in all fields and periods, and mainly from different Lebanese Universities, constituting a committee directly connected to the DGA and subsequently to the minister, as did his predecessor Mr Wardy, especially in view of the still actual vacancy of the post of Director of the DGA.

20- Has appointed a contract employee (not a full-timer), who is close to him, as acting head (supervisor) of the DGA, in spite of the previous refusal of the council of ministers to appoint him as director of the DGA.

21- Has forbidden archaeologist Hisham Sayegh to go live on TV, to give his opinion and expose his side of the story and threatened to go off the air, if Sayegh (who previously submitted publicly his resignation) was to be interviewed, knowing that at the moment of the live on TV, Sayegh was no more employed by the DGA.


For more of the same, use the following link to read the APLH report On the situation of Lebanese heritage – traditional Buildings as of 2013 (in Arabic), and while you’re at it, download the APLH gazette.

We invite the Lebanese public, to think of their country, its cultural richness, its historical memory, being in the hands of the above mentioned person. We invite you to ask yourself: Do I trust this man with my 6000 years history? And what remain of it?

Do I trust this man with my homeland’s identity?

This is a referendum for the Lebanese people. We urge you to participate in it, and in the absence of democratic institutions, let your voice be heard today.

Thank you and long live Lebanon


The Association for the Protection of the Lebanese Heritage is a Lebanese association registered under permit number 1764




June 2023

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