What was once a luxurious hotel in Beirut, Lebanon is now abandoned and left in ruins after it became a battlefield just a year after it opened in 1974.
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Known as the Holiday Inn, according to Jam Press, it was considered a great place to stay while on vacation in the country.
However, the location soon turned into a battlefield, with more than 25,000 soldiers fighting several wars – the hotel was forced to close its doors a year later.
Roman Robroek, a full-time photographer from the Netherlands, photographed the abandoned structure, which has been in decay for the past 46 years.
Robroik, 34, told JAM press: “Everything had gone awry when the Lebanese civil war broke out.” “Overnight, Beirut transformed from a famous tourist attraction in the Middle East to a haven for fighters and fighters. For months, the area – which was home to various luxury hotels – became a war theater with over 25,000 fighters.”
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“It was known as the ‘Battle of the Hotels,'” said Roman. “Thousands of people were killed or seriously injured, many of whom were thrown from the roof of this hotel.”
In 1976, the war ended, but the hotel never recovered and what was left was taken over by scavengers.
“Kitchen appliances, wiring, copper, appliances and anything else that has value” [was taken], ” Robroc explained. “I can imagine that because of the economic challenges, it might be interesting to sell or use some items.”
Six years later, it was the center of attraction for another fight—the 1982 Lebanon War.
One photo shows the pool being completely emptied once it was filled with chlorine water. Other photos show the interior made of rubble and dust, including a broken hole in a wall that overlooks the beautiful Lebanon harbor.
“Since it was tall and high above the city, the hotel became a favorite spot for snipers,” Robroek said. “The opponents tried to destroy the building with heavy artillery and you can still see the damage from those deadly attacks today. I found bullet and explosion holes on almost every floor.”
Robroik, who was concerned with the building’s history, needed to obtain permission to gain access from the military, the military, the government, and the building’s owners.
“It’s very rare to get access to a war emblem,” he explained. “I went during the day, as the place is guarded by the military and it was up to them how long I was allowed to enter.”
The structure is currently owned by two separate companies, and due to their disagreements about its future, the building remains in disrepair.
Still considered a military zone, the area is under strict control of the Lebanese military, with strong surveillance, which restricts access to civilians.
“The idea of an abandoned hotel is always somewhat terrifying, because it’s a reminder of the passage of time,” RoBrock continued. “The hotel’s skeleton became a beating heart for the underground youth scene, as it hosted various events and waves throughout the ’90s.”