AUB Libraries Online Exhibits

Developing Urban Modernities

After the formation of the Lebanese state in the 40s, Beirut and coastal cities grew rapidly, and were conceived as evolving sites of cosmopolitan “Westernized” modern life.  Manoug’s lens would document the fast paced urbanization of these cities, their self-styled Western and fast way of life, feeding further onto the image of Beirut as the “Paris of the East”. In fact, strategically located on the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean, linking East and west, sea to hinterland, Beirut dominated the cultural, commercial and financial life of much of the region until the beginning of the Lebanese civil war in 1975. A dreamland of the latest fashion, urban development, modern architecture, sophisticated way of life of the elite, Beirut built around itself an aura that tapped into the image of a Westernized Orient, one that is accessible, open, modern and welcoming.