Lebanon Falling: 2022

There is something about the Lebanese Mansion. They are impossible to miss as the first thing which draws you in is the romantic exterior. Nationwide, there are many sizes of homes, palaces, and mansions.

The traditional house, in the Ottoman Style, could be hidden anywhere, and in many towns throughout Lebanon. These traditional houses first flourished in the 19th-century Ottoman era. The ’Lebanese house’ is usually a world of sunshine, light and of colour, both subtle and vivid. These houses have a special relationship with nature, usually set in and around stunning landscapes or pretty towns. 

At first glance, these heritage homes may seem alike, but if you look closer you can discern their individual personalities and unique traits. I found each architectural example unique, also varying in colour palates from bright teals and clean whites to soft orange and yellow hues. These homes were colourful, fascinating, and historic.

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Little violet flowers and an avalanche of ivy grows up the side of this mill-turned-house in the North of Lebanon. A difficult building to capture due to it's position beside a busy main road.

Olive Grove

A mansion with amazing 360-degree views. The large old home was fronted with a single and unique external staircase that we used to reach the top floor after passing through the large exterior door.


A palace was likely built in the nineteenth century, but a floor was added during a later period, as suggested by its external architecture. It was evacuated in 1952 after being damaged by a lightning strike and has been uninhabited ever since. This one took some finding - and I eventually installed the help of a local.

Ivory Palace

A downstairs of a two-story house that was long abandoned before the Beirut blast in August 2020 - with some beautiful details inside and out. Both the interior and this entrance image spoke to me - however, the entire building has since been covered in tarpaulin.

The Parade

Notable features inside this palace include the colonnaded halls, twin-coloured masonry, star-studded wooden ceilings, scalloped and saw-toothed arches, a double curved staircase, and indoor fountains - all covered in a complex geometric styled motif. It was originally built for a Russian nobleman.

Persian Ivy

Walking up to this Heritage mansion, I was amazed that this former hotel held such beauty in the Autumn. The entire front was covered in red and orange ivy right across the right-hand side of the four floors - it was a stunning sight. Photographing it without nasty "spots" of light was also a challenge.


Walking into an abandoned house for the first time, knowing you are the first to see it, the first to lay eyes on it is a special feeling - the feeling is multiplied by ten when you are greeted with such a beautiful living space and beautiful triple arcade windows. Such windows are a Lebanese architectural highlight.

Like A Rainbow

A house that once contained a printing and publishing office for a local newspaper. As I was leaving this beautiful mansion I bumped into an admirer of my work just outside the front door, which was a wonderful surprise.

Little Triplets

On the outside, Ottoman-style houses are dressed in stone, with an ocher coating or other similar shades, and feature the trademark three windows in the shape of arches that welcome this world of sunshine and light to its interior. Thankfully, some stunning examples of this architectural style still exist up and down the country. This was a little abandoned house built in the late 1800's.

Nature Fight Back

This was once an opulent mansion in Beirut, remarkably close to the downtown area where the street battles had ignited into the Civil War. The veranda was difficult to reach due to the stack of furniture piled high in the room next door, but once I climbed inside, I was delighted to use the last moments of available daylight to capture the beautiful space and vegetation-covered floor.

The Lebanese Veranda

High ceilings were born from the need for cool rooms during Lebanon’s hot summers, as they allowed a breeze to pass through, and the central hall provided space for extended families to live together in the same large house. The three central large arched windows evolved and doubled up to take advantage of the sweeping views of Lebanon’s hilly coastline and impressive mountains.


I have visited this house on each of my trips to Lebanon, but it was only during my second visit in 2021 that I explored beyond just the top floor. The house has some stunning features which I greatly enjoyed documenting, including the multiple balconies and grand, turquoise-coloured entrance. It was difficult to edit this final shot, and the selection process was also a challenge.

An Allure

One of the main draws to these abandoned houses is the possibility of discovering a beautiful, art-filled Baghdadi ceiling. These ceilings fill many homes throughout the country and were one of the main aesthetic attractions for me as a photographer. ‘Baghdadi’ is the name for the traditional partition walls, or in this case false ceiling, which was used in these heritage buildings.

All Exposed

Sometimes the features of these houses are more obvious. This is the front door of a pretty mansion, over-looking olive fields in the North it has amazing 360-degree views, but as of 2021 has Syrian refugees living inside it. The large old home was fronted with a single and unique external staircase that we used to reach the top floor after passing through the large exterior door.

Al Kharab

The ruins of an Ottoman mansion deep in the South of Lebanon - and Hezbollah land. Nature claws back as the colours hold on - created this works late in the Spring of 2022.

Star Gazing

Sometimes the designs can be more simple, like this star-filled room in a former home and textiles shop in the centre of Beirut. Not long after my visit this building was bricked up.

Cutting Shapes

At first glance, these heritage homes may seem alike, but if you look closer you can discern their individual personalities and unique traits. These homes were colourful, fascinating, and historic. Once I discovered a house that was disused or abandoned, it always filled me with excitement as I never quite knew what was going to be inside This is another in central Beirut.

Grand Designs

The 160-year-old Palace withstood two World Wars, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the French mandate, and Lebanese independence. After the country’s 1975-1990 Civil War, it took 20 years of careful restoration for the family to bring the palace back to its former glory. However, everything was destroyed again only months after a 20-year long renovation when the Beirut blast hit the stunning home.


In its simplest form, the history of the liwan dates back more than 2,000 years, when the old houses were essentially a covered terrace, supported by retaining walls, with a courtyard in front. This place is actually unfinished and has been left since 1996 when the owner and architect passed away, causing the project to grind to a complete halt.

Great Divide

A palace that was classified in 2010 as a monument in the national inventory of historical buildings by the ministry of culture of Lebanon. A difficult space to photograph, and I ran slightly out of time after only being allowed 90 minutes or so inside. Each shot took around 30 seconds to complete, meaning a long wait between shots to check composition, lines, and exposure.


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