Al-Bustani School Beirut

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Samira from Beirut

I am a reflective wanderer who turns her encounters into stories...

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As you’re walking in the heritage neighborhood of Zokak el Blatt in Beirut, barely 200 meters from Downtown Beirut, you’ll stumble upon an 1800 building that looks neglected & squatted by families that once was the first national school in this region when it was full of missionary or religious schools.

Butrus al-Bustani, a Christian Maronite who turned Protestant in the 19th century being influenced by American Protestant missions, fled the civil war of Mount Lebanon between the Druze and Maronites, and decided to open a new national school in 1863 to foster citizenship regard­less of the sect for the people of Beirut, and neighboring areas.

A school that had students who later were themselves leading Beirut intellectuals, like Ibrähim Bey al -Aswad, Abdel Kader Dana, and Abd el -Kader Kabbani. The school was a non-religious institution that opened its doors to any student regardless of religion, social status, or where they were from. Its curriculum included a focus on languages such as Arabic, English, Greek, and French, literature in all languages, poetry, mathematics, translation, history, and geography. Imagine, in mid-1800’s?! However, it closed down in 1871 due to competition with other local religious schools and foreign missionary schools.

Constructed of local sandstone, this school consists of 3 buildings taken over by once-squatters during the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) and now paying rental for an unknown entity, with low hopes of funds for its restoration.

In fact, this neighborhood stands out as an academic heritage neighborhood extending from the old city of Downtown Beirut, but it’s neglected.

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Samira from Beirut

Samira Ezzo photo

I am a reflective wanderer who turns her encounters into stories...

Read all articles

Details about this spot

Categories

Address

VGR2+W24, Beirut

Opening Times

24 hours daily
Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)