Pigeons’ Rock & Beirut Corniche

The Raouché, a timeless symbol of Lebanese capital Beirut is its most famous landmark. Off the coast of Raouché, there is a natural landmark called the Pigeons’ Rock, its Arabic name translates to rock and is believed to be a derivative of the French word rocher. It is also known as the Rock of Raouché.

Pigeon's Rock, Beirut
Pigeon’s Rock, Beirut

This 60-meter high offshore rock couple was formed in the prehistoric era by a geologic movement. These two huge rock formations, made of sedimentary pale soft porous limestone rock eroded over millions of years, stand like gigantic sentinels on the Mediterranean Sea.

Dalieh of Raouche, Beirut
Dalieh of Raouche, Beirut

Beirut’s Dalieh, a prominent landmark on the main coastal promenade and a landscape of beauty, rich social history, and cultural memory, has been a feature of city life for more than 7,000 years. The Dalieh is part of the landscape of the iconic Raouche (the Pigeon Rocks).

The 10-kilometer long al-Manara Corniche, the seafront promenade named after the lighthouse, is lined with palm trees and runs all the way from Ain al-Mreisse until past Raouché.

20170809_184258 manara
Al Manara at a distance
20170809_185115 manara
Al Manara

The Manara was built on a hill above the water. In 1825, under the reign of the Ottoman Empire, the first lighthouse was built and stood around 25 meters tall, burning kerosene for light. It was very hard to manage, as the lighthouse keeper used to gather 2 or 3 gallons of Kerosene every day and carry it up the stairs in the dark to light the lamp. The Lighthouse, early 1900s, was shut during WW1 and was functional again in 1918.

People love to walk along the corniche at any time of day, but during sunset it is especially busy. Especially in the late afternoon and evening, it is a social spot where playing children, cyclists and joggers are gratefully using the wide pavement. Some fishing enthusiasts are also seen angling for fish and I saw them getting some good catch!

Fishing enthusiasts angling for fish in Mediterranean Sea
20170809_185258 Fishing
Fishing enthusiasts angling for fish in Mediterranean Sea

The Corniche lends itself to watching the sunset while leaning on the banister and enjoying the sound of the sea.

Mediterranean Sea
20170809_191541 Corniche
People love to walk along the corniche
People love to walk along the corniche

With its seaside cafés, restaurants and hotels, the area is a magnet for locals and tourists alike. While crowds take their turn to pose for the obligatory photograph, some well-informed local proudly recounts that it is a place where archaeological digs have revealed some of the oldest evidence of human communities in Beirut. According to Wikipedia, the shores near Raouché have yielded the area’s oldest evidence of human existence, flints and basic stone tools from Neolithic period, which are displayed in the AUB Archaeological Museum.

13 thoughts on “Pigeons’ Rock & Beirut Corniche

  1. Those rocks seem to be the perfect sentinels of time, watching the never changing waters, along with the ever-changing face of civilization…merging into the paradox of eras that may have passed by. Their placement is indeed interesting, who knows how much they have corroded and changed shapes! Lovely pics Indra!
    Thank you for this informative and interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

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