Nadia Von Maltzahn

Heritage, tourism, and the politics of national pride. The Baalbeck International Festival in Lebanon

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Founded in 1956, the Baalbeck Festival was Lebanon’s first international festival. Set in the Roman ruins of Baalbeck, the festival turned the archaeological site into a site of consumption. In the absence of a consensus on Lebanon’s history, heritage sites become anchors for particular narratives of the country’s history and celebrations of the present. This article examines the role of the Baalbeck International Festival in contributing to a debate of heritage politics in Lebanon. It shows how by the 1960s Baalbeck the archaeological site had come to symbolize Lebanon as a nation, and was turned into a national brand with the help of the Baalbeck Festival. Looking at the actors, power dynamics and cultural policies of the festival, the appropriation of heritage as a tool for tourism and source of national pride will be analysed.


  • Baalbeck
  • Festival
  • Nation
  • Lebanon
  • Tourism
  • Cultural policies


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