A few years ago I spent two wonderful weeks in Turkey and had the opportunity to visit The Blue Mosque so looking inside the Rafik Hariri Mosque in Beirut was not my first step in a mosque. It was different though. In downtown Beirut a beautiful new mosque has been built in memory of the great Lebanese leader who is credited with the rebuilding of Lebanon after the civil war. He invested millions of his own money to help jump start numerous infrastructure projects and redevelopment of the downtown which had been devastated by decades of war. Sadly two years ago he and his entourage were killed by a car bomb. A beautiful mosque and a memorial has been built in the heart of the downtown.
When women enter a mosque they are asked to cover their heads, much like it used to be in the Catholic church only no hair should be showing. Everyone is asked to remove their shoes. I wanted to see inside the mosque so my husband and I went to visit one night while walking around in the downtown. Unfortunately my photos just don't illustrate the size of the main chandelier. The crystals in the fixtures were made in Spain, all the pieces were shipped to Lebanon, then the fixture was hand-made on site in the mosque. Artist from Morocco were brought in to hand-paint the beautiful Islamic art. Mosques are open to the visiting and touring public accept during prayer times but if you are there for prayer time or services, there are balconies for the women while the men worship and pray on the main level. Men and women do not worship together in a mosque.
There are a few more photos of common sights in Lebanon such as hubbly bubbly, men playing towla (backgammon) and delicious food stands. I hope you enjoy the photos. In my next few posts I will be sharing some of the amazing sights in Jordan.