Inside the abandoned hotel where 25,000 soldiers fought
Once a luxury hotel in Beirut, Lebanon is now abandoned and in ruins after becoming a battleground just a year after it opened in 1974.
Known as the Holiday Inn, it was considered a lavish place to stay while on vacation in the country, according to Jam Press.
The place, however, quickly turned into a battlefield with more than 25,000 soldiers fighting multiple wars, forcing the hotel to close its doors a year later.
Roman Robroek, a full-time photographer from the Netherlands, took photos of the abandoned structure, left in ruins for 46 years.
“It all came to a screeching halt due to the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war,” Robroek, 34, told Jam Press. âOvernight, Beirut went from a legendary tourist attraction in the Middle East to a haven for fighters and combatants. For months, the area – which housed various luxury hotels – became a theater of war with more than 25,000 fighters. “
âIt was known as the ‘battle of the hotels,’ added Roman.â Thousands of people died or were seriously injured, many of whom were thrown from the roof of this hotel. â
In 1976 the war ended, but the hotel was never able to recover and the scavengers took what was left.
“Kitchen equipment, wiring, copper, tools and anything of value [was taken]”Robroek explained.” I can imagine that due to the economic challenges some items might have been interesting to sell or use. “
Six years later, it was the hotspot of another battle: the 1982 Lebanon War.
A photograph shows the swimming pool, once filled with chlorinated water, completely emptied. Other photos show the interior made up of rubble and dust, including a crumbled hole in a wall that overlooks Lebanon’s picturesque port.
âBecause it was large and dominated the city, the hotel became a favorite spot for snipers,â said Robroek. âThe opponents tried to destroy the building with heavy artillery and you can still see the damage from those deadly attacks today. I found bullet holes and explosions on almost every floor.
Robroek, who was intrigued by the building’s history, needed permission from the military, military, government, and building owners to access it.
âIt is very rare to have access to a symbol of war,â he explained. “I went there during the day because the site is guarded by the military and I depended on them for how long I was allowed to enter.”
The structure is currently owned by two separate companies, and due to their disagreement over its future, the building remains in disarray.
Still considered a military zone, the area is under the strict control of the Lebanese army, with strong surveillance, which restricts access to civilians.
âThe idea of ââan abandoned hotel is always somewhat strange, because it is a reminder of the passing of time,â continued Robroek. âThe hotel’s backbone became a beating heart for the underground youth scene, as it hosted various events and raves throughout the 90s.â