Nobody Home

The photo makes it look like this house might be out in the country. It isn't. It's nestled into a section of Beirut that is just as crowded as all the others.

The house stands about a block from a cluster of newly constructed, very sleek office buildings and shops. It's a part of town full of banks and other convincingly permanent establishments.

In the US we spin tales about abandoned houses. The huge and formerly gorgeous ones are almost certain to be thought haunted. The neighbors will swear they hear odd noises (weeping? doors closing? the rattle of keys?) coming from it. Stories will circulate about the former residents of the house, how they died or what private miseries they may have endured. Children will dare their friends to break into the place (for they're always locked up) after dark to prove their bravery, a right of passage.

I can't help thinking that abandoned houses are too common to attract this kind of interest in Beirut--the neighborhood's need for the mystical and the slightly terrifying would have to be satisfied some other way, if indeed such a need was felt in the first place.


  1. What a fantastic, monumental place! If only someone could afford to fix it up to her former grandeur and live there!

  2. I love seeing Beirut (the ordinary as well as the spectacular sights) through your amazing photos; thanks so much for sharing them with us!

  3. that really is a spectacular house. very nice balconies.

  4. What an elegant reminder of a bygone age! As I read your post, images from "To Kill a Mockingbird" came to mind. The image and the text partner each other well today.

  5. Reminds me of compton heights.