During the Lebanese Civil War, the National Museum was located on the Green Line, one of the deadliest zones in Beirut.
The building and the collection suffered extensive damage. But thanks to the Museum Director at the time Maurice Chehab and with last-minute preemptive measures, they managed to save and protect some of the treasures by putting them in concrete casings, hidden in the basement and walled up.
Restoration of archeological pieces and the full rehabilitation of the Museum started in the early 90’s and the Museum was finally reopened in 1999, after a great deal of hard work.
The basement which showcases the -mind-blowing- largest collection of anthropoid sarcophagi in the world was finally made accessible to the public in 2016.
The Lebanese Ministry of Culture, the National Heritage Foundation and the Director General of Antiquities joined efforts to support the restoration process, with foreign funding and expertise.
The National Museum is a true gem and a must-see!
For more info, tune in to our BBS Stories Podcast (episode #2 in French) when we met with Anne-Marie Afeiche, head archeologist and Museum Director.