A landmark recognized the world over, Lebanon Traveler explores the incredible story of the Casino du Liban.
Perched on a rocky hill in Maameltein, a 20km drive north of Beirut, stands the larger-than-life Casino du Liban. With an enviable view of the coastline, it occupies a massive 35,000 square-meter plot of land and remains the only gaming venue in the entire MENA region.
The Casino opened its doors on December 17, 1959, and, in the blink of an eye, blended the magic and authenticity of the East with the culture of the West. Indeed, the allure of its location coupled with a lavishly decorated interior attracted the world’s jetsetters, who would come from far and wide to revel in its opulence.
The renowned Salle des Ambassadeurs performance hall saw producers of the biggest European and American shows queuing to stage a performance.
Management even convinced the organizers of the coveted Miss Europe to host the event there, which they gladly did between 1960 and 1965, a world first.
The salle was renovated in 1964, incorporating the latest technologies and increasing its seating capacity to 850 spectators with additional changing rooms to accommodate 200 performers. Some six years later, Miss Lebanon 1971 was held there and the winner, Georgina Rizk, was later crowned Miss Universe.
Sadly, the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975 saw the Casino shutting its doors for over a decade, and it was not until 1989 that the decision was taken to fix the damage. The venue underwent a massive 50 million USD refurbishment, which was finally completed at the end of 1996.
Throughout its history, the Casino du Liban has been a playground for the world’s rich and famous. Today, the venue continues to have an important role, hosting dance troupes, music legends and countless cultural events all year round.