ADG endeavors efforts and resources to preserve and enhance the traditional style and community life of Gemmayzeh. The St Nicolas stairs initiative is one example of that.
The Saint Nicolas stairs spread over 150 meters, 202 steps and 23 flights. Also known as Sursock stairs or Daraj el Fan (arts’ stairs), the stairs are the charming link between the aristocratic Sursock district and the authentic and artsy Gouraud street.
The stairs are lined with some old houses that remind of the rich history of the area. They are also a living proof of the wild urban development of the second half of the 20th century. The stairs have undergone various renovation programs, the latest in 1962 and 1999.
ADG has devoted resources and energy to salvaging of the stairs from archaism and architectural anarchy. By working on forging an artistic mission to the area, the association aims at preserving the heritage and history of Beirut’s little Montmartre. Hence the urban plan started in 2002.
The study was funded by the cities of Beirut and Saint Etienne, as well as by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It involved the work of students from ALBA (Lebanese academy of fine arts) and ERBASE (Saint Etienne school of fine arts). The project was driven by ADG and Table Rase a Lebanese NGO. Major expected outcome (urban equipment and lighting, redesign of the entrance areas) is still to be completed. The program is to be followed by an extension to surrounding areas in Gemmayzeh.