Built thousands of years ago, Beirut’s historical past was known on the archeological level, through minor discoveries. It was the reinstatement of peace in 1991 that enabled systematic and scientific explorations of the city. Until then, Beirut Central District, home of the ancient capital, was destroyed. Its reconstruction was planned through archeological excavations in 1993, in order to unveil the hidden wealth of the city.
The city’s name had appeared on cuneiform inscriptions dating from the 14th century BC. By the end of the 1st century BC, Beirut became a Roman colony, which persisted up to the Byzantine period. The glory and prestige of the city were ravaged in 551 AD by a triple catastrophe: an earthquake, a receding tide and a devouring fire.
In 1110, Beirut fell to the Crusaders and succumbed to the conquest of the Mamluks in 1291. Beirut was then dominated by the Ottomans in 1516 and endured their ascendancy for 400 years. Awakening after that to the World War I outbreak, the city became a French colony until 1943, when Lebanon gained its independence. Today, the different structural remains related to the domineering rulers of Beirut are displayed in Beirut Central District.