The Cardo and Decumanus Maximus, the two main streets of Roman Berytus that date back to thousands of years ago, were acknowledged for their worth during the renovations of Downtown Beirut after the Lebanese Civil War.
This vast space that’s surrounded by Mohamad Amin Mosque, Saint George Maronite Cathedral, and Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral is supposed to have been the Garden of Forgiveness.
Why have such a name for a garden? Well, because it’s surrounded by a mosque and 2 churches, it made perfect sense to name it after “forgiveness” of all the bloodshed that happened during the Lebanese Civil War
Not to mention that the oldest Roman Law School was founded in this space. Also, as Solidere’s website states, during the excavations, sacred platforms dating from Phoenico-Persian times were discovered and Mamluk-Ottoman layers within a network of narrow alleys, which changed to straight shopping streets replaced the alleys, while the sites of religious worships were enlarged and became prestigious monuments during the 19th century.
During the early and mid-20th century, the stairs next to the Roman columns in the picture had a souk that my grandparents recall as “Daraj Khan el Beid” where traders and shop owners sold poultry products like eggs and chicken.
During the 1990s, two olive trees were planted in the “Garden of Forgiveness” as a way to start this project with a special event, but the public never saw it come to life. However, you can still observe its beauty from the outside!