BEIRUT: Recently released by hometown publisher Turning Point Books, guidebook Wander Beirut is both for city newcomers, visiting tourists and city veterans alike.
The colorful, chaotic city of Beirut, famous for clothing design, cuisine, clubbing and its juxtaposition of cultures is truly a place where the glamour exists side-by-side with the grit.
But no matter what, when it comes to Beirut and those problems that creep up time-to-time – power outages, uncollected garbage, epic traffic jams, the show must go on, and that is part of the city’s charm. This is a city where a talented youth on the low end of the socio-economic ladder can attend Creative Space Beirut founded by social justice activist Sarah Hermez and perhaps one day make it to the Paris or New York Fashion shows.
Anything is possible in Beirut; just keep an eye on which way fortune’s wheel is turning - maybe your way.
“Beirut is, undoubtedly, one of the most talked about cities in the world. It continuously births vivid stories that become the subject of worldwide discussion,” publisher Turning Point noted. “From the tumultuous Civil War era and political discordances that shape its legacy to the more recent triumphant cultural expressions led by talented thinkers and artists, the small city of Beirut is a tireless creator of far-reaching anecdotes that demand to be examined and explored. “
The attractive maps and graphics range from the Safi Village and Sursock neighborhood to the Basta antika and artisanal quarter; Bardaro, bohemian in nature with cafes and theater; Gemmayzeh, still one of the reigning gems of nightlife and micropubs, but losing some of its allure to Mar Mikael, which in turn in has seen it former industrial shops become art galleries, design shops, vintage stores, pubs, and restaurants.
Burj Hammoud, a longtime Armenian neighborhood, the Burj has diversified somewhat to include Syrians and on the weekend the neighborhood is like a veritable United Nations of inexpensive eateries as guest workers ranging from Ethiopian, Philippine, to Bengali flood in for their traditional Sunday off. Armenia and Apex streets are also known of great shopping at a range of prices. No visit would be complete without a visit to Basterma Bedo for some traditional Armenian fare.
Then there is the famous Hamra: “Overflowing with restaurants, shops……one of the city’s main touristic and commercial hubs.” The sidewalk is well-known for both shopping crowds, visitors and as something of a fashion catwalk.
Throughout the book, there's a comprehensive list of eateries, small and large, that include cuisines from Lebanese to French, Italian, Armenian and American, in each district of the city.
Lynn and Yasmine, two locals and longtime friends, joined forces to co-create the guidebook Wander Beirut, a product of their mutual appreciation and love for the capital. Through their first shared publication, they illustrate and relate the city’s complex being through whimsical collage-style illustrations, in-depth portrayals of Beirut’s main districts, compelling encounters with captivating locals, as well as tips and tricks to enjoy the city and its surroundings.
“There is enough about this city to make anybody want to drift off into a daydream. It was our mission to bring forward all that we, as locals, admire about Beirut and to share its brilliance with anyone willing to explore it,” Lynn and Yasmine said in a joint statement.
Charlotte Hamaoui, Managing Director, Turning Point adds: “As we celebrate our twentieth year in publishing, we are delighted to be releasing, Wander Beirut, a fresh and contemporary Beirut guide. It’s a double pleasure for us, as we started our publishing journey in 1999 with a guide on Beirut. So, twenty years later we find ourselves coming full circle, still with the same enthusiasm for our compelling city.”
About the Author
A passion for writing led Lynn Soubra to pursue a rewarding career in journalism and copywriting before moving to Spain in 2017 to complete a Master’s Degree in Corporate Marketing and Communication from IE University in Madrid. Currently, she is working as a Marketing Executive in Dubai, but is still keeping her love for writing alive through her personal work. Wander Beirut is Lynn’s way of giving thanks to a city she called home for 24 memorable years.
About the Designer/Illustrator
Yasmine Darwiche is a Lebanese designer who graduated from the American University of Beirut with a BA in Graphic Design. She spends a considerable amount of time strolling through the streets of Beirut, capturing photographs of her environment and later transforming her experience into a series of illustrative visuals. Her attachment to the community has led her to experiment within different fields of design. Her work has been exhibited at several locations in the city, and she is currently working as a freelance graphic designer.
About the Publisher
Turning Point is a boutique publishing house specializing in Middle Eastern novels, humor titles, empowering self-help books, coffee table books, colorful children’s books, and practical Lebanese guides. The publisher’s titles can be found in major bookstores in Lebanon, Dubai, and London, or online via Amazon and Antoine online.
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