American University of Beirut

Our Neighborhood

​​Ras Beirut, our neighborhood, is known for its diversity and vitality, two characteristics that the AUB Neighborhood Initiative aims to promote and protect through innovative outreach activities and interdisciplinary research.

In Ras Beirut, contradictions reign supreme. Behind the modern luxurious towers, we can still walk in hidden alleys and discover beautiful village-like areas with old houses and wild gardens. Next to the security guards at the entrance of a new building, we can still find people who will invite you - even a total stranger - to join them for a cup of coffee and a game of backgammon. The deafening noise of the electricity generators, the horrible traffic, and the eternally honking cars are offset by birdsong.  Fragrant jasmine, orange blossom and bougainvillea bloom in the scattered gardens, often belonging to heritage buildings threatened by demolition due to real estate speculation. Alongside supermarket chains, we can still find family businesses established by great grandfathers in shops that bear witness to times gone by. In Ras Beirut, we can come across unforgettable characters and unexpected stories that make our neighborhood a very special place.

Love Thy Neighbor is a popular phrase that still reverberates in the alleyways of Ras Beirut despite its rapid urbanization and ongoing gentrification. You will always find people who will receive you with a smile and go out of their way to help you. Ahlan wa sahlan!

In 2019, the AUB Neighborhood Initiative is celebrating the sea that we are so privileged to enjoy every day from all around the AUB campus, and the fishermen of Ras Beirut, a community that had a great role in the historical development of the beautiful Ain El Mreisseh area. Thus, the blue color of our booklet!

The list in this booklet, with our online map, is our way to help you navigate the neighborhood, get to know its hidden gems, and discover its beautiful heritage.  

Mona El Hallak, AUB Neighborhood initiative

In memory of Ibrahim Najem, the memory keeper of Ain El Mreisseh

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