Horsh Beirut

An urban park on the southern edge of the city proper, Horsh Beirut is also known as Horsh El Snoubar and Bois de Pins (The Pine Forest).

 

Horsh has suffered throughout its history from frequent abuse of its timber, especially by the armies of the Crusaders, Mamluks, Ottomans, and the Allies of World War II for the building of ships and weapons. Large parts of the forest were also segmented and repurposed for other endeavors, such as the Ottoman Casino in 1917, which later became the Pine Residence during the French Mandate and a horse racecourse in 1921; the Al-Shohadaa Cemetery in 1958; and Rawdat al-Shaheedein Cemetery in the 1970s. Moreover, the development of new roads during the 1950s left scraps of the woodland remaining that became contested for appropriaton.

 

In recent history, the forest was bombed and burned by Israeli jet fighters during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Today, Horsh Al-Sanawbar is a triangular, 255,000 m2 park. It lies along the axis of the old airport road amidst areas of Mazraa, Tarik el-Jdideh, Qasqas, Sabra, Ghobeyri, Shiyah, Furn el-Chebbak and Badaro, while it is separated from Ras el-Nabaa by the Beirut Hippodrome.

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