Some of Beirut’s museums are as beautiful to look at from the outside as they are to explore from the inside. With the support of the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism, we take you around four.
1. SURSOCK MUSEUM
Widely regarded as one of the most important modern art museums in Lebanon, the Sursock Museum was the former villa of aristocrat Nicolas Sursock, who gifted the mansion as an art museum to the city of Beirut upon his death in 1952. The building itself is nothing short of a work of art, with its exquisite blend of Venetian and Ottoman architectural elements and extravagant external staircases. After a lengthy five-year expansion project, the Sursock reopened its doors to the public in 2015.
Displaying more than 800 works from Lebanese and international artists, the museum has hosted around 100 exhibitions over the course of its history. The permanent exhibition includes a collection of Islamic art works and Japanese engravings.
Entrance: Free (donations are welcome)
Hours: Daily from 10 AM to 6 PM except on Thursday 12 PM to 9 PM. Closed on Tuesday.
Greek Orthodox Archbishopric Street, Achrafieh, 01 202001, sursock.museum
2. VILLA AUDI MOSAIC MUSEUM
Located on a leafy street in Sursock, the beautiful Villa Audi houses a unique collection of mosaics from all four corners of the world. In addition to the extraordinary mosaics, visitors can see a number of sculptures as they explore both
floors of the villa.
Although there are no descriptions to accompany the mosaics, the museum’s director can be contacted for a guided tour.
Hours: Mon-Fri from 9:30 AM to 5 PM.
Saint Nicolas Street, off Blvd. Charles Malek, Achrafieh, 01 219943/01 331600, audifoundation.org.lb
3. WONDERS OF THE SEA
Unlocking the mysteries of the aquatic world, this museum is set in a traditional high-ceilinged house with a beautiful
garden. Inside, a saltwater aquarium features sea creatures native to the Mediterranean as well as octopuses, starfish and seahorses.
Visitors can observe a huge collection of mummified sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, shells and coral varieties as well as forest animals, including wolves, foxes, and birds.
Entrance: 8,000 LBP (adults), 5,000 LBP (children)
Hours: Mon-Fri from 8:30 AM to 1 PM and Sat-Sun from 3 PM to 7 PM.
Jdeideh, 01 891548, wondersofthesea.net
4. AUB ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
Founded in 1868, the museum is one of the oldest in the Middle East. It holds an important collection of objects such as flint, currencies, mosaics and prehistoric tools from Lebanon and neighboring countries, covering a period from the Early Stone Age to the Islamic era.
Hours: Mon-Fri from 9 AM to 5 PM (winter), and from 9 AM to 4 PM (summer). Closed during official and AUB holidays.
American University of Beirut, Bliss St., Hamra, 01 759665, aub.edu.lb