Beirut experienced a renaissance of sorts in the mid-20th century.
Following World War II, the Lebanese capital became a tourist destination and financial capital, nicknamed “the Paris of the Middle East” thanks to its French influences and vibrant cultural and intellectual life.
That changed when civil war broke out in 1975, ravaging the city. Beirut has been rebuilt in the decades since (despite occasional violence), and is one again becoming a popular place for travellers.
Charles W. Cushman, an avid traveller and amateur photographer, visited Beirut in its heyday in 1965 and captured some stunning photos of everyday life in the city. These photos are being shared with permission from the Indiana University Archives.
The St. George hotel was another glamorous destination. Like much of the city it was also shuttered during the Civil War. Although it was partially renovated, a bomb exploded there in 2005, killing 22, and the building has remained empty ever since.
Beirut's architecture was heavily influenced by France, since the French gained control of the formerly Ottoman-ruled region after World War I.
Cushman shot this photo from the top of the Starco building, a well-known high rise built in the early 1960s. A bomb went off in front of the building in 2013, killing six.
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