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Beirut Hippodrome

  • monument

Sodeco, Beirut district

The ancient Roman hippodrome of Beirut was discovered in 1988 in the Jewish Quarter, Wadi Abu Jamil, and is considered to have been the grandest of the five hippodromes in the Levant. During the 4th and the 5th centuries, activities in hippodromes across the Byzantine Empire were banned under pressure by the church, the structures fell into disrepair and their stones were used for the construction of other buildings. The modern racetrack, located next to the Pine Residence in the south of the city, was founded in 1886 and its current configuration inaugurated in 1923. The racing grounds are surrounded by a pine forest that was grown during Prince Fakhreddine II's rule. It began hosting international horse races in 1944 and still does today. Vestiges of ancient constructions, such as columns, are visible in the center of the track. In addition to horse races, the hippodrome also hosts the Garden Show & Spring Festival every spring, welcoming more than 160 exhibitors and over 24,000 visitors from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Cyprus and Europe.