Views from the Holiday Inn, Geopolitics, urban war and memory in Beirut

  • Fregonese, Sara (PI)

Project: Research

Project Details


The project studies the everyday reality of civil war, and in particular of urban, asymmetric conflict through the case of Beirut's former Holiday Inn hotel which became part of the urban frontline during the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990). Today, its shell still stands out in Beirut’s post-war skyline, but its stories remain untold, buried by the official amnesia towards Lebanon's recent past.
Hotels are more than sites for business and tourism: they are also sites of (geo)political experiences for inhabitants and visitors alike: peace summits take place in international hotels, spies use hotel bars and lobbies as their information platforms, journalists take over 'safe' hotels in war zones, and hotels are terrorists' 'soft targets' par excellence.
By collecting the memories of people whose past experiences are linked to the Holiday Inn (former staff, guests, local residents, former combatants) before and during the civil war, this project provides the public with a lens onto the to day-to-day development of an urban conflict which determined the physical and social division of the city for almost two decades.
A digital archive will result.
Effective start/end date1/05/1131/12/12


  • British Academy: £7,301.00

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


  • Geopolitics
  • Political geography
  • Architecture
  • Arab world