Shadows of Tripoli

In 1962, the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer began the construction of the Rashid Kharami International Fair in the Lebanese city of Tripoli. This complex was to be the symbol of the economic power of Lebanon in that era, when the country was known as the Switzerland of the Middle East. Including a conference hall, an opera house, imposing monuments, it was to cover an area of some 25,000 acres, with the aim of converting the city into a modern congress and leisure center. When, in1975, the Lebanese civil war broke out, the complex was on the point of completion, but its doors never opened, no operas were premiered, no conferences were held and this city’s dream began to fade.

Tripoli, situated in the north of Lebanon and only 30 kms from Syria, lives immersed in a sectarian conflict which began with the Lebanese civil war in the 1970s and which has intensified since the beginning of the civil war in Syria. The wounds of the conflict between the Sunni and Alawi communities have transformed Tripoli into a smaller scale reproduction of the conflict prevailing in neighbouring Syria. The project, “Shadows of Tripoli”, aims to show daily life in this divided city, and the constant problems faced by a population that is permanently threatened.