Beit Kanz: A Heritage Landmark

One of the most important architectural landmarks in Beirut, Beit Kanz was sadly one of the protected buildings that sustained damage from the Beirut blast, as most of Beirut’s Ottoman architecture lies close to the port.

Purchased by Selim Tabbal in the early 20th century, the land originally comprised a one-floor house dating to the end of the 19th century. A prominent Beirut merchant, Selim Tabbal gradually added three more floors, culminating with a 4-storey apartment building by 1936. Each floor comprises several rooms organized around a large central hall.

Although the overall building appearance preserved the Ottoman modern façade and plan, the introduction of reinforced concrete balconies, cast concrete elements, and art deco interiors in the two uppermost floors reflect the spirit of the French Mandate period.

As a witness of the architectural and urban evolution of the city, the property was classified as a historical building by the Directorate General of Antiquities in 1999.

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Beit el Baraka and Beit Kanz: Reviving Lebanese Heritage

Giving the building’s importance in the history of Beirut and its people, Beit el Baraka decided to engage in its restoration, knowing the inability of the Tabbal family itself to do so for many reasons. Although funds were gathered for the unique purpose of preserving this architectural jewel, yet this was no charitable hand-out: In exchange for funding and directing the works, Beit el Baraka negotiated with the owners the exclusive use of the ground floor space for a five-year term, entirely free of charge. The refurbishment and decoration works were funded by a group of culturally-versed philanthropists, and did not come out of the general funds of Beit el Baraka. This is how the building’s ground floor would become the home of Beit Kanz, Kanz’s unique cultural hub that includes a café, an artisanal boutique, and a Lebanese gourmet store.

In this heritage house, Kanz will carry out its mission of preserving the culinary heritage of Lebanon by reviving traditional recipes and sharing them through a space that encapsulates more than 200 years of Beirut’s historical heritage.

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Beit el Baraka is a Lebanese-based charity with a support program that aims at providing a safety net for Lebanese households of retirees aged 65 and above, and children aged 18 and less, living in strong financial distress.

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