The Hijaz Railway's Beirut stop

Beirut stop of the Hejaz Railway: A conference and exhibition on the history of railways was held in Lebanon. Exhibition of Beirut Station of the Hejaz Railway attracted great attention

Lebanon's historic rail network and trains; It came to the fore with an event held at Beirut Yunus Emre Enstitüsü. From train stations to wagons, from rails to route maps, the history from the Ottoman period has been revealed in a wide range.

Within the scope of the project, firstly; A conference titled "Construction of Railways in Lebanon and its historical course" was held. Researching the Ottoman history in Lebanon, Dr. Kassab laid out the misconceptions about railway history in the country.

In the second leg of the event, the exhibition "Beirut Stop of the Hejaz Railway" was opened. Photographs taken by the Beirut Ambassador Çağatay Erciyes and his graphic design were also presented to the participants at the exhibition. In his speech, Ambassador Erciyes mentioned the importance of preserving Ottoman heirlooms in Lebanon:

“Preserving this heritage is very important. Preserving the Ottoman heritage in Lebanon is very important. Unfortunately, these stations, old train stations are all in bad shape. We are taking the necessary initiatives before the Lebanese government to improve these. These are not only ours, but especially Lebanon's cultural heritage. This heritage needs to be preserved. It could make an important contribution to Lebanon's tourism in the future. "

In Lebanon, which has been under Ottoman rule for more than 400 years, historical artifacts and artifacts are in danger of extinction. The Lebanese railway network and trains, which are also a part of the Hejaz Railway, are also left to rot. Beirut Yunus Emre Enstitüsü Director Cengiz Eroğlu said the following on the subject:

“Unfortunately, very bad situation. As can be seen from the photos, even now is difficult to explain. Completely neglected. In particular, the civil war has suffered from the destruction. They must be dealt with as soon as possible, otherwise these stations will disappear. ”

The exhibition, which reveals the history of the railroad in Lebanon and sheds light on the Ottoman period, will remain open at Beirut Yunus Emre Enstitüsü until the end of the week.


The building, which stands out with its ruined appearance in the middle of the trees, used to be a train station. This place is named after the Şuyit - Aaraya train station; It was one of the stops built by the Ottoman state on the Damascus - Beirut railway. In the period when it was built, the tracks on which the steam trains passed have now disappeared, and half of the passenger building was destroyed.

The Shuyit-Aaraya train station, twenty kilometers outside of Beirut, entered service in the eighteen hundred and ninety years and served as an important stop on the Beirut-Damascus railway until the nineteen hundred and seventy-five years of the Lebanese civil war. This stop, which was built by the Ottoman Empire and located on the Lebanon mountain, was the highest altitude train station in the world during the period. Now it is in ruins and abandoned to its fate.

The station, located on the slope of the Lebanese mountain, was very important with its strategic location in the years it was built. Trains departing from the coastal city of Beirut crossed this mountain and carried passengers and goods to Damascus.

However, Lebanon, which once ranked among the top countries of the world in the rail network, had to stop its train network after the civil war. Like every other rail network in Lebanon, the Shuyit - Aaraya train station was abandoned to its fate.

After the end of the civil war, some efforts were made in the country to re-activate the railways, but due to political disagreement, no positive result was reached. Rails disappeared, wagons rotted, buildings ransacked.

Activist Elias Malouf said the following about the country's rail networks: “Lebanon was a pioneer in rail network networks compared to other countries in the world. For example, when the train station we were in was first opened, it had the highest slope in the world for 20 years. When the Beirut-Damascus railway was first built, the network had world-unique characteristics. These features were even applied to the Hejaz Railway, which was built later. In addition, trains and wagons were specially produced. In terms of its level of development, it had features that you could not see anywhere else.

The railroad and transportation facilities built by the Ottoman state facilitated transportation both in Lebanon and in the region, while stimulating trade. Elias Malouf stated that the railroad brought to Lebanon at that time:

“I can say that the Ottomans managed to write a success story especially from 1860 until the First World War. During this period, we started to see airlines, highways, railways and trams in Lebanon. The opening of the Ottomans in cooperation with local and international companies was effective in this. Generating new ideas made things easier, rather than relying on the money to come from Istanbul alone. "

This is the last situation in the country of the stations that were first seen as a major modernization move. Not a single train is running in Lebanon. Shuyit-Araya station is also waiting for support to reach the old days.


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