Ranked #25 of 47 attractions in Beirut
Category: Government Buildings
The Grand Serail is the headquarters of government in Lebanon, i.e. the Prime Minister's Palace. For this reason, it is...
The Grand Serail is the headquarters of government in Lebanon, i.e. the Prime Minister's Palace. For this reason, it is actually illegal to photograph the structure. Suprisingly, the concept of the Serail has come down from the Ottomans, rather than the French, as a saray is a palace. The structure was built up over the years, having been used as barracks by the Egyptians in the 1830s, then as a Garrison and, later, as a hospital by the Ottomans. The building was abandoned as a hospital and became a type of art gallery, before being used as the Governor's House by the French when they took control of Lebanon in 1918. After independence, the Serail was the Presidential Palace from 1943 to 1952 (currently the Presidential Palace is Qantari Palace), and it was finally converted into the Prime Minister's Residence in 1952 by Riad As-Solh.