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Beirut

Information about Beirut

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The Phoenician port of Beirut was located between Rue Foch and Rue Allenby on the north coast. The port or harbour was excavated and reported on several years ago and now lies buried under the city. Another suggested port or dry dock was claimed to have been discovered around 1 kilometre (0. 62 miles) to the west in 2011 by a team of Lebanese archaeologists from the Directorate General of Antiquities of Lebanese University. Controversy arose on 26 June 2012 when authorisation was given by Lebanese Minister of Culture Gaby Layoun for a private company called Venus Towers Real Estate Development Company to destroy the ruins (archaeological site BEY194) in the $500 million construction project of three skyscrapers and a garden behind Hotel Monroe in downtown Beirut. Two later reports by an international committee of archaeologists appointed by Layoun, including Hanz Curver, and an expert report by Ralph Pederson, a member of the institute of Nautical Archaeology and now teaching at Marburg in Germany, dismissed the claims that the trenches were a port, on various criteria. The exact function of site BEY194 may now never be discovered, and the issue raised heated emotions and led to increased coverage on the subject of Lebanese heritage in the press.