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Photographing the Abandoned Aquarium Tower in Batroun

There’s nothing new to explore when it comes to visiting the famous tourist spots and cities globally. While it is captivating to feel being present in the moment and exploring the famous spots and locations on your own, you don’t often explore anything new or what hasn’t been found by thousands of other tourists themselves. Now, this isn’t something every tourist or traveler urges when fulfilling their traveling passion, but it can keep you from feeling the pride of exploring the unseen.

Don’t start thinking about exploring a new island or country on your own and become the next Christopher Columbus. Now it’s not about dreaming big, but exploring the locations and cities that aren’t very popular. Besides, when you visit such places, you explore more than just beauty or a crowd to visit some specific buildings or funfairs. Instead, such cities portray a part of history, making them memorable spots for every visitor. One such city I visited was Batroun, a coastal city in northern Lebanon and one of the oldest ones today. While there was a lot to explore in Batroun, my major focus was photographing and exploring the abandoned aquarium there. Here’s everything I explored about it through my photography.

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Stunning view from the top of the tower

Batroun: The History and its Present

Before we dive into the history and story behind the abandoned aquarium in Batroun, let’s first have a short insight into Batroun itself as a city. Batroun, derived from the Greek word ‘Botrys’, was founded by the Phoenicians. This city is one of the most ancient coastal cities in Lebanon. This city may have been found by the Phoenicians, but is believed to exist even before their rule on the eastern Mediterranean from 1,500 BC – 300 BC. Apart from this controversy regarding Batroun’s origin that isn’t yet solved, this city is a well-known tourist destination in North Lebanon.

The Emergence and Present Condition of the Aquarium Tower:

Moving forward to my journey of exploring the abandoned aquarium in Batroun, this is lying there since the 1960s as a forgotten part of Batroun’s ancient architecture.

During its construction, today’s abandoned structure, which was once supposed to be an aquarium, was supposed to dominate the skyline of Batroun. Instead, it is located next to the shore, which has slowly turned this raw concrete structure into a merged part of the urban fabric of Batroun.

While this abandoned aquarium was once intended to turn into a complete aquarium, the civil war in Lebanon of 1975 left the building as an incomplete piece of Batroun’s history that visibly portrays some lasting aspects of the scars that the war left behind in Batroun.

The Idea Created for It:

Although this abandoned aquarium is nothing more than an abandoned structure today, it was once designed to be much more than that. The aquarium had to feature a restaurant that comprised of a seascape that could never begin. Not just that, but this aquarium was kept a part of the bigger marine complex comprising an area of 65,000 m2 and a three-floor maritime educational establishment. Moreover, a five-block accommodation block, an administrative building, and other facilities were also meant to be a part of the aquarium, i.e., a fish tank, aquaponic containers, a domed planetarium, etc.

The Present of the Historical Aquarium:

As compared to how it was meant to be before, the abandoned aquarium still stands in its place firmly as a stark contrast to the historical destruction caused to the city.

As I viewed this abandoned building in its present, it was clear how it characterized the entire city with its undefined and incomplete look – portraying the historical scars of the city for the present and future generations!

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