The trees in Beirut must be tenacious to live in this densely urban city. Mostly neglected by residents and government, they survive around the edges and in the spaces between seemingly unregulated development. But even the most hardy can't survive the new buildings which rarely leave room for substantial greenery beyond the token sign of luxury -- a couple of ancient, gnarled olive trees uprooted (often illegally) from southern fields.
I recently saw at least a dozen huge, old ficus and pine trees that provided several city blocks with shade and greenery cut down to the ground. They were likely remnants of an orchard or garden around a long gone villa. They lined a parking lot in Hamra, which is still a parking lot. Presumably this lot is being readied for construction, but it's not evident yet. I don't understand how at least a few of them couldn't be incorporated as heritage and for their beauty -- not to mention for the health of the city's environment and its residents.
This is the first batch in a series of photos of some of the trees I see and admire in my daily life in Beirut.
Orange tree in bloom behind a decaying building and hemmed in by walls on Jeanne D'Arc street, Hamra.
A ficus tree that a friend remembers his grandfather planting when there was a house in this lot. The tree may not survive much longer though, the former parking lot is now abandoned. (This is across the street from Takoush Flowers on Jeanne D'Arc street, Hamra.)
A fig tree (figs, hard to see here, are just forming) near the Mayflower Hotel, Hamra.