Although it is widely believed that a marketplace was already located here way back in the Phoenician times, and that the Souk is almost as old as the city itself, don't expect to find an authentic, Oriental market, with ancient, winding streets and alleyways at the Beirut Souks. During the Civil War (1975-1991), the former city marketplace was practically destroyed, to open again at the end of 2009 in its new, 21st-century form.
Several, local architects participated in the Souk's redesign and the end result is a truly monumental, ultramodern shopping emporium - a city within a city, with hundreds of stores, restaurants, cafés and various entertainment opportunities. Here one will find the best-known European and North American fashion and luxury brands, from Zara and H&M to Chloe.
A trip to the Souk will make it clear why the talk of Beirut overtaking Dubai as the main shopping destination of the Middle East is not just idle chatter. Dubai had long taken advantage of the instability in the region, and had usurped Beirut's former status as the fashion capital of the Middle East, but this is now changing.
Next to the Souk is Beirut's Harvey Nichols, the Aishti luxury department store, which carries the crème de la crème of European luxury brands, which are very expensive here.
Bab Edriss, Dowtown Beirut
Keywords: Beirut, shop