We all love historical beauty and the stories these historical beauties speak of – with every tale having passion, determination, and destruction of a kind. Looking back at every historical building or place today helps us revive how people and places existed in an era that existed way before then we did. That is, after all, the best way to explore the life we can only imagine had existed when the times were less technological and advanced. But was the beauty of that era any bit comparable as compared to the architectural beauty and stories we witness in today’s world?
Well, that can only be figured by exploring any such beautiful place that may have been abandoned over time, but it still carries the beauty of its architecture and the story behind it within its roots and walls. One such place I photographed with this thought during my Heritage Management Organization photo visit to Lebanon was the abandoned Farid Serhal Palace in Jezzine (Lebanon). The construction of this palace began in 1967, and its overall outlook is nothing different from what we see in the history books.
However, this palace and its beauty were first witnessed by Joseph Matar years earlier in the past. Joseph Matar was a poet and an artist who had been a good friend of Farid Serhal, a Member of Parliament for Jezzine. On my trip to Lebanon, I decided to capture most of the historical beauty and tales with my photography. So I focused on photographing and exploring the abandoned Farid Serhal Palace in Jezzine this time.
Here’s everything I explored, from the architectural details to the history of the abandoned Farid Serhal Palace in Jezzine and the person who created it, i.e., Farid Serhal.
Architecture of the Farid Serhal Palace in Jezzine:
Starting with the details on the beauty and what is left of the beauty of the abandoned Farid Serhal Palace in Jezzine, there’s no doubt that time hasn’t aged most of its beautiful architecture. Built by the former Member of Parliament for Jezzine Doctor of Medicine Farid Serhal in 1964, this palace comprised all the architecture and designs that Serhal collected.
Throughout the construction of this once luxurious and idealized dream of Serhal, it was focused on portraying the best of beauty and architecture of all types. This palace was mainly built according to the Andalusian architecture style. This architecture is most famous in North Africa, Spain, and Portugal with the name of ‘Moorish Architecture’.
The Hardships and Efforts Behind Detailing The Palace:
As large as this abandoned palace seems to look, the construction and designing of each detail in this palace had also been equally hectic for the workers. At that time in history, this was one of the biggest constructed palaces, which had taken numerous stonemason’s everyday effort to craft every detail in this palace. These stonemasons reproduced every part of this castle with ideal exactitude of capitals, details, structures, reliefs, moldings, and projections. This focus and hard work had been put to make Serhal’s dream of having a palace with every architectural beauty he had witnessed in his life come true.
In my journey of exploring the abandoned Farid Serhal Palace in Jezzine, I witnessed more than just architectural details and beauty. Numerous efforts were made to make this palace look like a dream palace for any visitor. From valuable antiques to mosaics and sculptures that oriented one of a king luxury and beauty was what this palace mainly promoted with each of its rooms.
But the basics that we usually find in any palace or luxuriously designed home weren’t all that was witnessed by this palace. This palace still stands out to be different from the architecture we see today due to the wide variety of ornaments and items placed inside the palace to add more meaning and beauty to every part of the palace. This included the best and most beautiful collection of shisha (water pipes or hookahs), vases of opaline, cut glass, paintings, and sculptures.
How Does the Palace Carry The Historical Beauty?
While there’s no doubt that the abandoned Farid Serhal Palace in Jezzine was equipped with every kind of global beauty during its construction, the question is whether the palace is still enriched with these beautiful details or not. Usually, the most beautiful and historical locations in the world today are used as tourist spots for visiting and exploring more of what went behind their presence and destruction in the past. However, if we talk about the abandoned Farid Serhal Palace, it’s more than that in the present.
As this beautiful and idealistic palace still portrays its beautiful architecture of all kinds, it is used as an event venue in Lebanon. After all, with a place as specially constructed and beautifully detailed as this palace, who won’t want to have their special events celebrated in a beautiful place as this palace. Moreover, this beauty that it has carried for years has ensured that the abandoned Farid Serhal Palace remains an important regional attraction for the citizens and locals.
Other than the beautiful details carried out by this unforgettable palace, there’s a lot more that this spacious palace has witnessed. From multiple workers focusing on every detail of its architectural beauty that we can witness today, to the person who dreamt of creating this palace and invested a huge part of this life in finalizing its details – there’s a lot that the abandoned Farid Serhal Palace carries within it.
Talking about Dr. Serhal’s struggle on making every detail of the architecture and additional decoration of this palace special and idealistic, Serhal traveled the world and read hundreds of books to make everything one-of-a-kind beautiful in this palace.
All this struggle by Dr. Serhal had a dream and a vision of creating a perfect puzzle of eclectic architectural elements from a different civilization behind it. But, unfortunately, while Serhal had struggled in exploring everything he needed to add to his dream palace, he was the only one who couldn’t witness the completion and satisfaction of living in his palace due to this demise. Hence, in 1975, this beautiful masterpiece that was an orientation of Dr. Serhal’s imagination witnessed a slowdown and then a dead halt in its construction due to the passing away of Dr. Serhal.
Although Dr. Serhal couldn’t witness the beauty he dreamt of creating in his life, his hard work passion towards making it a reality can still be seen by the details this beautifully abandoned palace carries within it. Big thanks to Silat for culture and the Heritage Management Organization for making this visit possible as part of my project in Beirut.
More photos of the wonderful abandoned Farid Serhal Palace in Jezzine: