Posts Tagged ‘baabdat’

Abandoned House in Baabdat

December 6th, 2009

I came across another abandoned house in Lebanon. This time not far from our family house in Baabdat. This one is my mum’s find. She first came across it when on her way to a friend’s house for a visit.

On the day of my departure from Lebanon I felt I needed to get out of the house and do something other than pack, so I took my mum on a short trip to take some shots of the abandoned house.

Here are some of the resulting pictures.

Entry (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO200, 1/125sec)

The floor in each of the rooms to the left of the main door above had completely collapsed, leaving only a bare husk of a building. More about this below.

Baabdat House-2 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

I liked the look and colour of the broken tiles.

Baabdat House-3 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/50sec)

I was struck by the rich blue of the door. The fact that the door opened onto a series of floor-less rooms made for an eerie experience.

Baabdat House-4 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/320sec + flash SB900)

I wonder how that scarf got there…

Baabdat House-5 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Unlike the abandoned house in Batroun (and see also here), this house had very few possessions left over by the previous inhabitants.

Baabdat House-6 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/250sec + flash SB900)

That’s not to say there weren’t any possessions at all which were left abandoned.

Here we have a rotting sofa:

Baabdat House-7 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/200sec + flash SB900)

Some bottles and containers:

Baabdat House-8 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/200sec + flash SB900)

And even a few coats left hanging on the wall behind the door:

Baabdat House-9 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/200sec + flash SB900)

Done exploring the inside of the house, I moved again outside to try and find different perspectives.

I liked the different kinds of stone the house was built of. The rich colour of the doors in these old Lebanese houses also called out to me.

Baabdat House-10 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/200sec + flash SB900)

Another aspect of old Lebanese houses that I love is the arches.

Baabdat House-11 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/200sec + flash SB900)

Not only had the floor in the top level of the house collapsed, but it seems the red-tile roof had collapsed as well.

I’m sure whatever could have been salvaged from it was.

Baabdat House-12 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/800sec)

The dead and dried creeping vine only added to the sense of neglect and loss.

Baabdat House-13 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/640sec + flash SB900)

This is a view into the lower level of the house, into which the upper floor had caved. The black of the walls suggest there might have been a fire at some point, which may account for some of the damage.

Baabdat House-14 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Next up, the Bangalore Wedding pictures you’ve all been waiting for!


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The Jerboa Has Landed!

October 27th, 2009

Right! I’ve returned from my trips to Lebanon and Bangalore, India with a sizeable wad of pictures.

I still have to sort through them all, but hopefully I will have lots and lots of great pictures to share with you in the coming weeks – including pictures of: abandoned hundred-plus-year-old Lebanese houses; ruins of age-old temples; the last day of the harvest and vintaging at a vineyard; a traditional Indian wedding (which totally blew my mind – probably the single most colorful and extraordinary wedding celebrations I have yet had the privilege to attend); and my other (non-wedding-related) impressions of the very beautiful, chaotic and noisy Bangalore.

With luck, I will have something substantial to share in the coming day or two. Meanwhile, I will leave you with a shot of the very first snake I have yet seen in Lebanon. In the wee hours one night I found this beautiful and colourful specimen lying in the middle of the road by my family house in Baabdat.

It was quite dead and being munched upon by a cute tar-black kitty, which unfortunately made a break for it as I approached. Oddly enough, try as I might, I couldn’t roll the snake over to take a better look at (and maybe picture of) it… Whatever I did, it invariably flopped back onto its back… It wasn’t too long, about 50cm in length, give or take, and 2cm or so at its widest point.

And no, no clue what type of snake it is.


While you’re waiting for the coming posts, check out the first instalment of the awesome bullet-time-esque results of a very cool experiment undertaken by the one and only Trey Ratcliff.


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The Emir's Palace

August 27th, 2009

The Palace FacadeOver my last trip to Beirut, I attended the 50th wedding anniversary of a very good friend of mine and my family in Chtaura in the Bekaa valley.

It was a fantastic event and a heart-warming reminder of the joy two people can find in, and keep bringing, each other over the course of a lifetime well-lived. Oddly enough, it’s something we as a culture seem to be steadily discarding by the wayside and replacing it with… something else entirely.

The Wedge

Now, getting to the Bekaa valley from Baabdat means taking any number of roads. One involves a very long and oft log-jammed road (via Zahle), and another one or two less well known and rather windy road (via Hammana). You can also find out more on Hammana here.

As you may have guessed, we took one of the windy roads via Hammana. We spent a pleasant hour and half passing through quaint little villages clinging desperately to the mountainside, peppered with hundred-plus-year-old homes built of traditional yellow stone. This was great for me as we travelled through areas of Lebanon that I hadn’t had the opportunity to explore before.

At one point on the way out to Chtaura we passed through Salima. It’s a small and very old village dominated by a large abandoned 16th or 17th Century castle. Salima was the seat of power of the Abillama Emirs (hence the castle). Salima is a fantastic little gem, and in a country peppered with beautiful little villages that’s saying something.


Many of the houses and other buildings seem to date back to the 17th and 18th Centuries. A disproportionally large number appear to be abandoned today. The sheer number of missing roofs made for an odd sight. Find out more here and here.

Strangely enough, the village seemed to be largely empty. Perhaps this is fallout from the Lebanese Civil War, but I’m not so sure. The village does sit on the road linking some rather key, perhaps strategic, locations. A number of different factions may have driven through it on their way in or out. That said, it bears noting that the war ended in 1990.

I fell in love with the village, with its beautiful old church sitting by the town square, dwarfed by the ruined fortress which sprawls across from it. A quaint school sits by the road above the fortress. I was dying to explore it, to spend a day there and make photos to my heart’s content.

Tunnel Vision

Three problems: 1) I had an event to attend; 2) I was with my parents and couldn’t really abandon them to be bored to death while I ran around in search of a good angle or the light and generally getting lost in the belly of the palace or in the village; and 3) I didn’t have my tripod *sniff*.

So basically, all I got was five precious minutes to take a quick look around the palace on the way BACK from the event. In all fairness, that wasn’t so bad, as the light was a tad softer by the time we’d returned to Salima.

I’ll be making sure to go back there soon to explore it properly.

Bonus points if anyone can spot the glaring *gasp* error I made in one of the shots.

Welcome to the Other Side


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A Walk in Baabdat

August 23rd, 2009


One relatively cool afternoon, I decided to take a walk around the neighbourhood in Baabdat.

I figured a short walk would help clear my thoughts. What better company to have on a walk but my trusty camera?

So here are a few shots from that walk for your viewing pleasure.


The Cosy House

The WindowThe DoorCac-toesBlair Witch CellarThe GrillFlags! Rusty Screw

This lovely lady stopped me as I was wandering aimlessly to ask if I was looking for someone and if she could help. When I explained I was simply wandering around looking for things to shoot, she exclaimed: “Walaw! Shoot me!” She proved a brilliant subject, with such a beautiful and expressive face and a lively sparkle to her. Afterwards, she insisted I attend at her family home for a coffee and a snack. The Lebanese will often surprise you with their warmth and kindness.

Kind Eyes


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