Christian Cemetery, Near Sodeco

There are several Christian cemeteries just south of Sodeco Square along the east side of Damascus Road.

On the day I visited, most of them were locked. But here, the door was wide open. The sign above the door has the year 1850 on it, and does that say Catholic? I'm sure one of you will tell me in the comments.

In I went.

After the simplicity of the military sites I'd already visited, the ornate angels sort of surprised me. Angels. And then I was surprised that something so familiar to me had become unexpected.

They were quite beautiful.

Someone asked when I posted the photos of the Martyrs Cemetery if I could read the inscriptions. I can't. I can make out dates and sometimes names, but that's not the same.

Tomorrow, I'll post photos of a second Christian cemetery only a few hundred meters from this one.


  1. Dear Mary Ann, before long you will be ready to put together the certified guide to all cemeteries in Lebanon. Well, maybe after just a little more field work, but you are well on your way.

    I have a "Cemetery Guide" for France, it is surprisingly complete, listing hundreds of cemeteries all over the country, and documenting many interesting facts about notable people or monuments in them... a treasure trove for a guy like me.

    As for reading the inscriptions in Arabic, I guess you're going to have to spend some more time in the classroom... (as if you didn't have enough to do already between raising children, taking pictures, and blogging....

  2. Traditional cemeteries sure look cluttered after the ordered simplicity of a war graves but they house a hundred great photos.

  3. when you want to visit the catholic cemetry (next door to the Syriac one), do tell me. I'll be buried there one day, so no harm in visiting where I'll be living for eternity!!!! maybe you can suggest some refurnishings (I would like a tv, and a fridge for example)

  4. Owen, I'd love to HAVE such a guide, but it will have to be written by someone with a far better command of the land, history, languages, etc.

    Thank you, Marie!

    Joan, I think the uniformity at military sites is intended to sooth grief and to communicate a broader sense of meaning. It reinforces that those deaths are part of a bigger picture, a bigger story, just as their graves are part of a bigger, all-encompassing design in the landscape.

    Jihad, I haven't been in there yet. Maybe I'll call the number on the door and make an appointment. But I have to know, how will you ever rest in peace if you have a TV?

  5. it will only be tuned to a classical music channel (fits the mood I guess). My biggest worry is who handles paying the cable guy!

  6. You have quite the eye for these things.. I've always been intrigued about the plaques on the fallen European soldiers here but never really looked further to know more.

    There's one place you really have to see if you still haven't: in Achrafieh, one of the most beautiful cemeteries around, with a few large and ornate mausoleums, sadly now bordered by a supermarket and a mall across the street. It's around a large Greek Orthodox church called Mar Mitr (Lebanese for Saint Dimitri), that you'll have no trouble finding. Buried there are the old rich families of Beirut like the Bustros or the Sursock. Definitely worth a few shots.

  7. You know what's crazy is that I know exactly where that is but have never been in. Back in 2004/5 I lived very near that cemetery and passed it a few times a week on foot. I never went in, I didn't dare. Back then, I was much more worried about intruding where I don't belong.

    Those days are (mostly) past. It's something I love about getting older. I'm less fearful, more brave, happier.

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  9. Mary Ann: Thank you for this post. This cemetery is where my mom is buried, two years ago this January 22. I've only been there once, when we buried mom. I live in the US and I've been trying to figure out its location so to get the geographical coordinates. I was finally successful because of your blog and cross-referencing with Google Earth. I want to get a tattoo with those coordinates and other locations that are meaningful to me. You helped immensely, thank you!

    I was born in Beirut and have visited many, many times. Unfortunately, never staying more than a month or two max. I’m envious of you living there. Have a wonderful life and enjoy.

    1. Hi Amine,
      Your comment made my day. Less than a month ago I moved to Bangkok. Missing Beirut a lot right now.
      Mary Ann