Inside the abandoned hotel where 25,000 soldiers fought wars

Once a luxury hotel in Beirut, Lebanon is now left deserted and dilapidated after becoming a battlefield just a year after it opened in 1974.

Known as the Holiday Inn, it was considered a luxurious place to stay while on vacation in the country, according to Jam Press.

However, the site soon turned into a battlefield with more than 25,000 soldiers who fought several wars – forcing the hotel to close its doors a year later.

Roman Ruebroek, a full-time Dutch photographer, took photos of the abandoned building, which has been left in decline for the past 46 years.

“Everything came to a sudden halt because of the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war,” Robrook, 34, told Jam Press. Overnight Beirut transformed from a legendary tourist attraction in the Middle East into a haven for fighters and fighters. For months, the area – which was home to many luxury hotels – became the scene of a war with more than 25,000 fighters.”

Roman added: “This became known as the ‘Battle of Hotels.’ Thousands of people died or were seriously injured, with many thrown from the roof of this hotel.”

A crumbling hole in a wall overlooking the picturesque port of Lebanon.
Jam Press / Roman Robrook
The area is still considered a military zone and is tightly controlled by the Lebanese army, which restricts access to civilians.
The area is still considered a military zone and is tightly controlled by the Lebanese army, which restricts access to civilians.
Jam Press / Roman Robrook
Bullets and blast holes can be observed on every floor of the deserted hotel.
Bullets and blast holes can be observed on every floor of the deserted hotel.
Jam Press / Roman Robrook
The hotel had to close its doors a year after it opened, as the hotel grounds became a battlefield.
The hotel had to close its doors a year after it opened, as the hotel grounds became a battlefield.
Jam Press / Roman Robrook
The hotel - better known as the Holiday Inn - opened in 1974 and was a luxury spot for those on holiday in the Middle East.
The hotel, known as the Holiday Inn, opened in 1974 and was a luxury place for those staying while on vacation in the Middle East.
Jam Press / Roman Robrook

In 1976, the war ended, but the hotel could not recover and the scavengers took what was left.

Kitchen equipment, wires, copper, tools and anything of value [was taken]Robroek explained. “I can imagine that given the economic challenges, some items might be interesting to sell or use.”

Six years later, it was a hot spot for another battle – the 1982 Lebanon War.

One of the photos shows the pool, which was filled with chlorine water, completely empty. Other photos show the interior of rubble and dust, including a collapsed hole in a wall overlooking the picturesque port of Lebanon.

In one photo, the pool area that was filled with holiday-goers has become eerily empty and the area's grounds are covered in rust.
In one photo, the pool area is now eerily empty and the grounds of the area are scattered and riddled with rust.
Jam Press / Roman Robrook
Today, the building is owned by two separate companies and one of the main reasons it continues to remain in disarray is due to the dispute over its future.
Today, the building is owned by two separate companies and one of the main reasons it continues to remain in disarray is due to the dispute over its future.
Jam Press / Roman Robrook
“Overnight, Beirut transformed from a legendary tourist attraction in the Middle East into a haven for fighters and fighters,” says photographer Roman Robroc.
Jam Press / Roman Robrook
“The hotel has never been a symbol of luxury, but a symbol of war and it stands tall to remind us of one of the darkest eras in Lebanon’s history.”
Jam Press / Roman Robrook
“Thousands of people died or were seriously injured, with many thrown on the roof of this hotel,” photographer Roman Rubruck explained.
Jam Press / Roman Robrook

“Because it was so high and towering above the city, it became a favorite location for snipers,” said Robrook. Opponents tried to destroy the building with heavy artillery and you can still see the damage from those deadly attacks today. I found bullet holes and explosions on almost every floor.”

Robroek, who was fascinated by the building’s history, needed permission from the military, the military, the government, and the building’s owners to access it.

“It’s very rare to get access to a symbol of war,” he explained. “I went during the day, because the site was guarded by the army and I depended on them for the length of time I was allowed in.”

Roman Ruebroek, 34, a full-time Dutch photographer, came across the strange building with a traumatic past while traveling in Beirut, Lebanon.
Roman Ruebroek, 34, a full-time Dutch photographer, came across the strange building with a traumatic past while traveling in Beirut, Lebanon.
Jam Press / Roman Robrook
Decaying car garage.
Decaying car garage.
Jam Press / Roman Robrook
Roman Rubruck explored the building with a representative from
Roman Rubruck explored the building with a representative from Silat Culture – a local non-profit organization – and two photographers.
Jam Press / Roman Robrook
Roman wanted to explore the building after hearing about the history, but had to jump through some hoops to let him in.
Photographer Roman Rubruck wanted to explore the building after hearing about the history but had to jump through some hoops to be allowed in.
Jam Press / Roman Robrook

The structure is currently owned by two separate companies, and due to their disagreement over its future, the building remains in disarray.

The area is still considered a military zone, but it is under strict control of the Lebanese army, with close monitoring, restricting access to civilians.

“The idea of ​​an abandoned hotel is always kind of weird, because it’s a reminder of the passage of time,” Robrook continued. “The hotel’s skeleton became the beating heart of the underground youth scene, hosting numerous events and raves throughout the 1990s.”

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