Hazmieh — Roman Aqueducts [week1]

Roman Aqueducts (a.k.a. Anatir Zbeide) dating back to approx. 400 B.C.

THE GEOGRAPHY

The Reign of the Roman Republic, initiated in 509 B.C., has witnessed a wide territorial domination that reached the whole mediterranean world. Consequently, we still find some Ancient Roman ruins here and there in some mediterranean countries. The photo above shows a roman aqueduct, which is a structure, invented by the Romans at the time, used to transport water from hills to lower lands.

Almost 2500 years later, 200 meters away from the ruins, some modern buildings started appearing, and in between these buildings and the ruins is an empty road surrounded with greenery from all the sides, where people ride bikes, jog, walk their dogs, and some find it an easy escape from the mudnane city traffic.

Aside the ruins in the valley, we find a river, a wide variety of fauna, flora and some unusual animal species. And on the opposing side above the valley, Bellevue Hospital is located, well known for its advanced and refined medical healthcare.

The purpose behind this introduction is to highlight the cultural, environmental, and medical aspects of this 500m spread of road, known as Anatir Zbeide street.

ANATIR ZBEIDE STREET IN 2017

After a few years living there, I have noticed that this area is treated like any other Lebanese neighbourhood and gets relatively the same amount of corruption. For example, we are already seeing cranes and caterpillars digging inside the mountains with no apparent structural nor environmental studies, rather only for commercial purposes.

Mountain diggers

Another major issue I have noticed is that the source of the river that goes through the valley is found near an industrial area, thus it is severely contaminated. It is important to note that this river is probably the main reason why we see different animal species and plants taking shelter in the valley.

The heart of the river

At this early point of the study, I have no clear idea towards which direction I am headed. But here are some important questions that have been crossing my mind lately:

-Is the municipality aware of these special and important aspects of this area? If so, what are they doing about it?
-Are all Lebanese people aware of this area? Does it need more awareness?
-What do the specialists have to say regarding the area?
-Should it be considered a nature reserve?

In my opinion, unlike most green spaces in Lebanon, this area hasn’t been severely damaged, and being part of a more conscious generation, we are responsible for what the future holds for this land.