Inside the abandoned hotel where 25,000 soldiers fought

Once a luxury hotel in Beirut, Lebanon is now abandoned and in ruins after becoming a battleground just a year after it opened in 1974.

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

The place, however, quickly turned into a battlefield with more than 25,000 soldiers fighting multiple wars, forcing the hotel to close its doors a year later.

Roman Robroek, a full-time photographer from the Netherlands, took photos of the abandoned structure, left in ruins for 46 years.

“It all came to a screeching halt due to the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war,” Robroek, 34, told Jam Press. “Overnight, Beirut went from a legendary tourist attraction in the Middle East to a haven for fighters and combatants. For months, the area – which housed various luxury hotels – became a theater of war with more than 25,000 fighters. “

“It was known as the ‘battle of the hotels,’ added Roman.“ Thousands of people died or were seriously injured, many of whom were thrown from the roof of this hotel. ”

A crumbled hole in a wall overlooking the picturesque port of Lebanon.
Jam Press / Roman Robroek
The area is still considered a military zone and is under the strict control of the Lebanese army, which restricts access to civilians.
The area is still considered a military zone and is under the strict control of the Lebanese army, which restricts access to civilians.
Jam Press / Roman Robroek
Bullets and explosion holes can be seen on every floor of the abandoned hotel.
Bullets and explosion holes can be seen on every floor of the abandoned hotel.
Jam Press / Roman Robroek
The hotel had to close its doors a year later after it opened, as the hotel grounds became a battleground.
The hotel had to close its doors a year later after it opened, as the hotel grounds became a battleground.
Jam Press / Roman Robroek
The hotel - known as the Holiday Inn - opened in 1974 and was once a lavish place for those staying while on vacation in the Middle East.
The hotel, known as the Holiday Inn, opened in 1974 and was once a lavish place for those staying while on vacation in the Middle East.
Jam Press / Roman Robroek

In 1976 the war ended, but the hotel was never able to recover and the scavengers took what was left.

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

Six years later, it was the hotspot of another battle: the Lebanon War of 1982.

A photograph shows the swimming pool, once filled with chlorinated water, completely emptied. Other photos show the interior made up of rubble and dust, including a crumbled hole in a wall that overlooks Lebanon’s picturesque harbor.

In one image, the pool area that was once packed with vacationers is now eerily empty, and the grounds in the area are scuffed and rusted.
In one image, the pool is now eerily empty, and the grounds in the area are scuffed and covered in rust.
Jam Press / Roman Robroek
Today the building is owned by two separate companies and one of the main reasons it's still a mess is disagreement over its future.
Today the building is owned by two separate companies and one of the main reasons it’s still a mess is disagreement over its future.
Jam Press / Roman Robroek
“Overnight, Beirut went from a legendary tourist attraction in the Middle East to a haven for fighters and combatants," says photographer Roman Robroek.
“Overnight, Beirut went from a legendary tourist attraction in the Middle East to a haven for fighters and combatants,” said photographer Roman Robroek.
Jam Press / Roman Robroek
“The hotel was never truly a symbol of luxury, but rather a symbol of war and stands proudly as a reminder of one of the darkest eras in Lebanese history," Says photographer Roman Robroek.
“The hotel was never truly a symbol of luxury, but rather a symbol of war and stands proudly as a reminder of one of the darkest eras in Lebanese history.”
Jam Press / Roman Robroek
“Thousands of people have died or been seriously injured, many of whom were thrown from the roof of this hotel," explained photographer Roman Robroek.
“Thousands of people died or were seriously injured, many of whom were thrown from the roof of this hotel,” said photographer Roman Robroek.
Jam Press / Roman Robroek

“Because it was large and dominated the city, the hotel became a favorite spot for snipers,” said Robroek. “The 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 intrigued by the building’s history, needed permission from the military, military, government, and building owners to gain access.

“It is very rare to have access to a symbol of war,” he explained. “I went there during the day because the site is guarded by the military and I depended on them for how long I was allowed to enter.”

Roman Robroek, 34, a full-time photographer from the Netherlands, came across the bizarre building with a shocking past while traveling in Beirut, Lebanon.
Roman Robroek, 34, a full-time photographer from the Netherlands, came across the bizarre building with a shocking past while traveling in Beirut, Lebanon.
Jam Press / Roman Robroek
The run down parking lot.
The run down parking lot.
Jam Press / Roman Robroek
Roman Robroek explored the building with a representative of Silat for Culture - a local non-profit organization - and two photographers.
Roman Robroek explored the building with a representative of Silat for Culture – a local non-profit organization – and two photographers.
Jam Press / Roman Robroek
Roman wanted to explore the building after hearing about the story, but had to go through a few hurdles to be allowed in.
Photographer Roman Robroek wanted to explore the building after hearing about the story, but had to overcome a few obstacles to be allowed in.
Jam Press / Roman Robroek

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

Still considered a military zone, the area is under the strict control of the Lebanese army, with strong surveillance, which restricts access to civilians.

“The idea of ​​an abandoned hotel is always somewhat strange, because it is a reminder of the passing of time,” continued Robroek. “The hotel’s backbone became a beating heart for the underground youth scene, as it hosted various events and raves throughout the 90s.”

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