Minister Rasheed Karameh International Exhibition,
Tripoli is an historic and ancient city on the northern
coast of Lebanon, which is extensive and continues
to stretch further along the coast in the northern,
southern and western directions. It has abundant remains
of past civilization and is surrounded by orchards
of fruit trees and groves of olive and orange trees
whose produce supplies local industry. There is also
agriculture of a more general nature.
In the second half of the twentieth century the idea
took root of setting up an international exposition
center in which Arab, European and Asian countries
would participate. In an area of about one third of
a square mile societies, organizations and industries
would be able to promote their business and engage
in mutual contacts and exchanges. Preparation of plans
and studies was confided to Oscar Niemeyer, a highly
reputed creative artist and architect. A ministerial
decree was published in May 1960 creating a mixed
company for the promotion of the produce and riches
of Lebanon and of the Arab countries.
Between the years 1961 and 1975 all the grounds and
sites surrounding the future Exposition Center were
expropriated to allow the construction of the required
buildings such as show-rooms, hotels, restaurants,
theaters and so on. The name of the project was changed
to Permanent Lebanese and International Exposition
Work was held up during the tragic events occurring
between 1975 and 1990 but was then resumed. On August
16th a decree was published giving the Fair its present
name, The President Rasheed Karameh International
All sectors of activity set to work, including trade,
industry, culture, art, and tourism, in order to hold
congresses and to receive international delegations,
with the intention of strengthening relations and
promoting exports, imports and exchanges at every
The President Rasheed Karameh Exposition is a pilot
project in the Middle East and planning and careful
studies have been pushed to the extreme, so that now
there is a permanent site marked by innovation, evolution,
high performance, additions, new inaugurations, modernization
and reform, with activity evident everywhere. There
is no slacking, with new ideas always coming to the
fore and new data keeping the project up to date.
Here are examples of concepts that have been in mind
or that have been actually realized:
- A unique utterly modern open-air theater floating
on a bridge over the water, with seating for 1,200
and with the most effective techniques.
- An experimental circular theater with seating for
- A show room with an inside floor space of 20,000
square meters and outside ground of 40,000 square
meters (rather over 200,000 and 400,000 square feet).
There will be parking for three thousand vehicles
allowing maximum participation for the organizations
interested, whether states or companies.
- Halls where several festive productions may be held.
- A congress hall with 2,500 seats.
- A Lebanese Pavilion with arcades and boats capable
of passing under a bridge.
- A hotel with 104 rooms and eight ultra-modern pavilions.
- Various restaurants with “mezza” and regional and
international dishes, run by the worlds leading companies
including Suisse Hôtel. Restaurants and terraces
will give view over the sea and over the Exposition
- A hall for weddings, congresses and various festivities.
- Sports centers equipped with the most modern material
and sauna, Jacuzzi, Turkish baths, indoor and outdoor
swimming pools, tennis courts, and playgrounds for
- Management and administrative offices.
- Numerous elevators, bridges, and staircases to facilitate
work and communications between the stories.
It goes with out saying that the infrastructure is
the most sophisticated possible concerning power supply,
mechanical appliances, electronic communication, sanitation,
water, air conditioning, and various services.
Other areas are being planned, such as
- A three-dimensional theater.
- A play center for children.
- A fie-star restaurant and hotels ranging from one
to five stars and providing 1,600 beds.
- Monthly expositions and suchlike activities.
- A center for marine games and sports with four basins.
- More than three hundred chalets with the Fiji isles,
Japan, etc., as their theme.
- A pedestrian street for shopping.
- Wider car-parks accommodating more than 8,000 vehicles.
- A circular railway running around the whole project.
- A Palace of Congresses.
Annual budgets exceeding many millions of dollars
will be provided for the guarantors.
The whole project, parts of which have already been
realized, has been conceived on a grandiose scale.
There have been delays because certain parts of the
Rasheed Karameh Exposition need restoration after
having been damaged during the previously mentioned
fighting and after having suffered lack of maintenance
over a considerable period. Now in the year 2017 the
Lebanese Government has taken the whole question of
the Exposition very seriously, is pursuing it vigorously,
and has just consecrated for it an adequate budget.
Translation from the French: Kenneth Mortimer
Karameh International Exhibition 1: >>
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Karameh International Exhibition 2: >>
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Karameh International Exhibition 3: >>
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