The concern for our heritage has become considerably significant since the Israeli invasion in 1982. The Hariri Foundation is bent on restoring, renovating, and making our heritage known to all. Most important of all the works are the following:

Renovating a number of old buildings in Sidon, namely:

Renovating the Great Omari Mosque in Sidon, which was shelled by Israeli planes in 1982. It was built in the twelfth century and is thus considered a monumental achievement in the history of Sidon. It now stands as a great, elegant edifice from the past.

         Restoring the Katakhdah Mosque built during the Ottoman Rule in the center of Old Sidon, which was destroyed by the earthquake that hit the Lebanese coast in 1956.

         Renovating Khan Al-Frenj (The French Inn). Through an agreement with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, signed in 1992, the inn was turned for 33 years into a center for cultural activities and art exhibitions under the patronage of the Hariri Foundation. This monument dates back to the early part of the 17th century when Emir Fakhreddin Al-Maani built it to be a business station between Sidon on one hand and Toscana and Venice in Italy on the other.

         Preparations of the blueprints for the grand mansion of the Turkish ruler are well under way (presently Aa'isha Um Al Mu'mineen School). Restoration included around 500 houses in Old Sidon. It is a joint project with the Directorate of Antiquity.

         The Hariri Foundation contributed in uncovering antiquity hidden under the city of Beirut. It donated one million dollars to help the Lebanese government, and in cooperation with UNESCO, to uncover a lot of the antiquities that date back to different eras in history. 

Strengthening relations with international organizations

         For one of the accomplishments in the domain of heritage, Hariri Foundation signed a protocol: "Declaration of Intentions" with UNESCO at the time when Mr. Frederico Mayor visited Sidon on July 24, 1995, to restore the Temple of Ashmoun and Old Sidon.

         Signed a cooperative project in February 1997 with the British Organization of Heritage headed by Prince Charles, who pledged to send a British urban design task force specialized in maintaining archeological sites, overseeing restoration activities that are going on in Beirut and Sidon, and making recommendations that will help keep the historical type of both cities.

         The Hariri Foundation is presently collaborating with the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education and the Arab World Institute in Paris to prepare to hold an exhibition on Lebanese Heritage in Paris, September 1998.

         The Hariri Foundation organize the holding of an international conference on the history and heritage of the city of Sidon.

         The Hariri Foundation participated in the discussions which centered around how to plan and organize the seafront of Sidon, keeping intact the characteristics of its heritage which exists to serve man rather than the other way around.

         To culminate its unique heritage accomplishments, in 1994 the Hariri Foundation appointed MP Mrs. Bahia Hariri head of a group of interested researchers to establish a Sidon organization concerned with our heritage and the environment.

As the Hariri Foundation is convinced of the abilities of the Lebanese to create and give of themselves, it plans to establish other cultural organizations that are concerned with man and his social development. This way the Hariri Foundation's plans will complement those of public and humanistic organizations in building a better future, which the whole Lebanon looks forward to with anticipation.


Hariri Foundation