One of the reason why I really wanted to visit Lebanon, besides – of course – the amazing food, was Beirut street art scene. Ever since I’ve seen a picture of colorful stairs I knew I want to see them in real life. I know that these days every second city has either the umbrellas covered street or the colorful stairs but those in Beirut were the very first I’ve ever seen. I kind of felt like it would be a dream coming true.
Background of Beirut street art
As you most likely know not so long ago Lebanon and especially Beirut were torn by the cruel civil war. That’s also when Beirut street art, especially stencils, was introduced as part of the propaganda. These days the walls of Beirut are still full of political and social slogans like no other place I’ve visited and the bullet holes are transformed to street art pieces.
It might not look as pretty as murals in let’s say Gdansk or Kosice but it surely makes Beirut street art scene unique.
In recent years a very distinctive style was developed on the walls of Beirut – Calligraffti. I’ve never seen it anywhere else but it surely looks beautiful. Some local artists, including Yazan Halwani (who portraits famous Beirut residents), Ali Rafei or Mohamed and Omar Kabbani of Ashekman, are especially know for this style.
Where to find street art in Beirut
I was really lucky when visiting Beirut. My accommodation was in Gemmayze, the alternative district of the city where even the back lane leading to the hostel was full of street art. Every time I walked around, in any direction, I spotted some new pieces, hidden on the walls, behind leaves, in the corners. Each walk was a treat!
From Gemmayze it was just a short walk to Mar Mikhael, another area with even more street art, the school bus graveyard and the famous colorful stairs – I’ve found four of them! If you’re after Beirut street art other areas you should check include Hamra, Monot or Sursock – that’s where I found some good works too! Even the benches along Corniche – the seaside promenade – were part of the local art project.
Beirut felt like a street art playground for me, the city didn’t disappoint at all! It wasn’t the typical street art destination, with lots of beautiful paintings. Instead the majority of Beirut street art was powerful, made you think and reflect of political and social issues. It really seemed that some sort of revolution is happening on the walls of Beirut.
Now let me show you some more Beirut street art!
If you’d like to read more about street art from around the world these articles might interest you:
Here you will find all the posts about Lebanon! If you’re looking for articles about any place in particular this map with posts might be useful for you. Or just take a look at the “destinations” page.
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stacjabalkany12/04/2017 at 09:10
Bejrut wygląda fantastycznie na tych zdjęciach i muszę i ja kiedyś tam się udać:)
kami17/04/2017 at 21:14
Stefania12/04/2017 at 15:49
I love the one with the gate and garden behind painted. It reminds me of one graffiti I’ve seen in Morocco.
kami17/04/2017 at 21:15
This one was among my favorites too! And all the colorful stairs!
Ola | Chasing Colors12/04/2017 at 19:08
Wow! Nie sądziłam, że i tam można znaleźć tyle kolorów. Muszę poczytać Twoje wpisy o Beirucie, zapisuję go na bucket list!
kami17/04/2017 at 21:23
te schody są najlepsze! Ale w ogóle to bardzo fajne miasto jest! Polecam bardzo! :)
Tatiana12/04/2017 at 22:00
Tyle dobra! Nie będę się zarzekać od razu, że pojadę, ale z przyjemnością zrobiłabym sobie taki spacer alternatywny. Tak na marginesie, ciekawe bardzo zjawisko – jak szybko murale ze sztuki dość marginalnej x lat temu stały się bardzo ważną i wyrazistą częścią kultury i wizerunku miasta.
kami17/04/2017 at 21:24
ale to chyba w wielu miastach taka ewolucja street artu zaszła, w Warszawie trochę też. A Bejrut bardzo fajny! Jakbyś była w okolicy to koniecznie. Bo raz, że fajne alternatywne miasto, a dwa to jedzenie… <3
Phil02/02/2022 at 15:27
I love the pictures! Beautiful !! Where can I find the one with the Lebanese flag?
kami03/02/2022 at 20:02
Thanks! Unfortunately, I don’t remember the exact location of the Lebanese flag, it’s been a while since my visit to Beirut.