Description - The PM's Beirut Mansion: If Walls Could Speak by Nayla el-Solh

The book depicts the abandoned and crumbling Prime Minister's mansion in Beirut and the lives connected to it and interwoven into its fabric for over a century. The photographs of the rich and famous at the house in its heyday at its opulent best, contrast with those showing it as it is now. Accompanying essays unravel the intriguing stories knitted into its bricks and mortar, including political intrigue, births, deaths, marriages, tragedies, wars, murders and determination.

The mansion was once occupied by Takieddine el-Solh, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon (1973 to 1974 and briefly in 1980) and his wife Fadwa al-Barazi. It is situated in the Kantari district of Beirut, very close to the downtown area where the street battles fully igniting the civil war, which began in April 1975 and ended in 1990. Many of the residents fled their homes at the beginning of the war, never to inhabit them again. It is also close to the port where more recent tragic events have taken place: in August 2020 one of the largest ever non-nuclear explosions ripped through the heart of Beirut resulting in hundreds of lost lives, thousands of injuries and the mass destruction of homes and businesses.

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