Horsh Beirut is an urban park and a green living space in the heart of the city — only a few km away from Martyr Square and the national museum of Lebanon. It’s an important element in terms of the collective memory of the city and summarizes its story.
Looking back to the history of this park, its scale has shrunk throughout the years — in 1600 it was considered the forest of Beirut, and it took its current triangular shape in 1975.
However, the park was never opened to the public, due to the Lebanese civil war that started in 13th April 1975. Horsh’s gates remained closed until 2003 — due to the continuous efforts of local NGO Nahnoo, they progressively opened to the public, until the park opened fully in 2016 with minor restrictions regarding space use.
On 13th April 2019, under the title “Performing Invisible Borders” and in collaboration with Antakya Performative Collective, Nahnoo & its volunteer performers tackled the subject of the surrounding pine forest “borders”, and borders in public spaces in general, through art performances.
The Horsh has three main gates but only one is currently open to the public, the one on Al Omar Beyhum street; but once you step in, you forget the hustle and bustle of the city outside.
It has lots of spaces for different uses, whether you’re meeting with friends or simply contemplating nature. Personally, I was introduced to the this park in late 2017, when running in this green spot in the heart of Beirut became a habit of mine.