August 2nd, 2011
10:40 AM GMT
Beirut was known as the Paris of the Middle East before 15 years of civil war ripped the city apart.
Then the country's late Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, established building company Soildere to recreate the city centre from scratch. The company created a glamorous new area in downtown Beirut, packed with luxury brands.
But Solidere remains controversial due its wide legal mandate, which gave it almost total control over the future of Beirut’s downtown area.
As the city continues to recover from the war, proponents such as Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati are trying to silence the critics.