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Beirut's most famous antiques market hit by dollar crisis

July 14, 2020 00:00:00

BEIRUT, July 13 (AN): Lebanon's markets are slowly dying due to the severe economic turmoil, which reached its peak during the last three months.

The antiques market thrived for decades, even surviving the civil war and its horrors, but it has faltered in the face of the country's dollar crisis.

In Beirut's Hawd Al-Wilaya District, narrow streets criss-cross and stores display antiques, furnishings, paintings and carpets at their entrance. The market, which for decades has been known to Lebanese and foreign customers, stands empty with no customers or even passersby.

Mohammed Mahmoud Hammoud, nicknamed the Pasha, is the oldest shop owner in the market. His grandfather had the title "Pasha" during the Ottoman rule of Lebanon. He inherited the antiques trade from his father and opened his own store in 1957.

He sits at the entrance of the market on a wooden chest inlaid with copper. The market is empty.

"It is true that we sell luxuries, but these goods attracted people from Marrakech and the Arabian Gulf states as well as foreign ambassadors, Lebanese political figures, and intellectuals, all of whom wanted to own masterpieces," he told Arab News. "But now nobody comes here because $100, the price of an old lamp, for example, has become equivalent to LBP800,000, which is more than the salary of an ordinary employee, and tourists have not returned to Lebanon."

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