See Why Beirut Was Once Known As 'The Paris Of The Middle East'


Beirut experienced a renaissance of sorts in the mid-20th century.

Following World War II, the Lebanese capital became a tourist destination and financial capital, nicknamed "the Paris of the Middle East" thanks to its French influences and vibrant cultural and intellectual life.

That changed when civil war broke out in 1975, ravaging the city. Beirut has been rebuilt in the decades since (despite occasional violence), and is one again becoming a popular place for travelers.

Charles W. Cushman, an avid traveler and amateur photographer, visited Beirut in its heyday in 1965 and captured some stunning photos of everyday life in the city. These photos are being shared with permission from the Indiana University Archives.

In the 1960s, Beirut was a popular tourist destination and cosmopolitan city.

Cushman snapped this photo of the Mediterranean from the top of the Excelsior Hotel.

The trendy Excelsior was a popular escape. Check out that pool.

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