The Lighthouse Keeper of Beirut.Victor Chebli has weathered storms, war and three kidnappings to maintain his family’s shining legacy.

The Lighthouse Keeper of Beirut.Victor Chebli has weathered storms, war and three kidnappings to maintain his family’s shining legacy.

Issue 41

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Arts & Culture

  • Words Sabina Llewellyn-Davies
  • Photography Bachar Srour

Beirut’s old manara, the Arabic word for lighthouse, is perched on a hill facing the sea. The neighborhood where this black-and-white striped 82-foot tower is located was even named after it. Victor Chebli, whose family have been lighthouse keepers in the country for over 150 years, is committed to shining a light on Lebanon’s past. This lighthouse is not only a historic building but also a monument to the country’s resilience and a reflection on how individuals are playing a leading role in preserving the city’s heritage.

SABINA LLEWELLYN-DAVIES: Growing up in a lighthouse sounds like every kid’s dream come true. What was it like for you?

VICTOR CHEBLI: I was born here. As you can see, our family living quarters are annexed to the lighthouse. Being situated on shore in Beirut...

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