Reviving Hamra Street

In the heart of Lebanon’s capital city, Beirut, Hamra Street once stood as one of the most preeminent cultural, economic, and intellectual centers in the city and the entire Arab world. Namely, Hamra Street housed many journalists, politicians, and leaders who were exiled from other nations, and was the site of inception for many opposition movements. However, following the Lebanese Civil War of the late 20th century, the Hamra Street district never quite recovered from the flight of activity and people from the area.

Yazan Halwani seeks to preserve the fading history of Hamra Street in his wall-sized street murals. His signature style combines Arabic calligraphy with portraits of Lebanese and other Arab figures--from world-famous recording artists to resident street urchins. One of his most popular pieces is a massive portrait of Sabah, a Lebanese singer and star from the 60s and 70s. While capturing the storied histories of the streets of Beirut, Halwani hopes that he can bring back the spirit that once inhabited neighborhoods like Hamra Street.

Episode Credits

Produced by Dana Ballout and Hebah Fisher, sound design by Ramzi Bashour. Special thanks to Yazan Halwani, Maria Abunasr, music by Khaled el Habr شارع الحمرا and Sabah جيب المجوز يا عبود


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