Beirut on Flickr.
After two weeks in Turkey I returned to Beirut for two days due to poor planning. I should have flown from Istanbul to meet my family as they took a trip to Belgium, but, well, to be honest, I really wanted to return to my favorite hummus shop in Hamra one last time.
Anyway, buildings like this are all over Beirut, as are fancy new condos. The law states that you cannot tear down buildings until they are in such disrepair you can’t fix them up. So developers buy beautiful old buildings, let them rot, and then replace them with glass and steel condos.
Some rotting buildings have families living in them, fixing them up. Someone in their family signed a lifetime lease a long time ago, back when it was 2 or 3 Lebanese Lira to a dollar. When inflation hit the landlords were not allowed to renegotiate the lease. One dollar is now worth 1,500 Lebanese Lira so these families would be paying a fraction of a cent a month in rent if the landlord ever bothered to collect. The landlords now hope the building rots enough to drive the families out.