Recently, while driving near the National Museum, I noticed half of a really nice building.

The other half? Very likely it was destroyed during the war. The National Museum was very nearly destroyed too, but it has been nicely restored since. If you visit the museum, be sure to watch the movie that they made of their efforts to preserve the collection. They encased larger items (statuary and sarcophagi) in concrete--think of them as tailor-made mini bunkers. Then, when the war ended, they carefully chiseled them out. I'm so glad it worked.


  1. That's impressive! Have you seen Anthony Bourdain's footage of the war breaking out? They were in Lebanon to film an episode of "No Reservations". Instead they filmed their experiences in the hotel, waiting to get out of Lebanon. It's quite good.

  2. Took guts to make that decision, I suspect. Concrete poured over the antiquity? Really, with nothing like a crate between ... very courageours!

  3. Hi One of. Thanks for the comment! I'll have to look for the film when I'm in the states. Just googled Bourdain. He was here in 2006 when Israel and Lebanon had a brief war.

    I meant to refer to Lebanon's Civil War, though. That lasted from 1975-1990 and resulted in the sever damage of the museum. I should have been clearer about that.

    Julie--the concrete didn't come into contact with the statues or artifacts. That's why I described it as a bunker--a sort of box. The museum sealed large items into individual concrete boxes, and then when the war ended they carefully broke the boxes open. Not as risky as the method you described, but still courageous given how much was at stake if anything went wrong.

  4. We did visit the National Museum and its fabulous collection, and I recall very clearly the video about preserving pieces from the collection... incredible the work they did to protect the larger sculptures...