Martyrs' square is a public square in downtown Beirut,Lebanon. Its history is the story of Lebanon, eventful and dramatic.
During the Ottoman period, the square was known as Canon square, probably named after the large pieces of Russian artillery stationed there during the war with the Ottomans in 1771.
During the Ottoman rule, when world war 1 discriminatory practices against the locals took place a revolt occurred. This resulted with the square being used as an execution for Lebanese nationalists. After the ottoman period ended and due to the events that occurred in this square the name was changed into Martyrs' Square in the name of the nationalist martyrs.
Martyrs' square was always the center of the city, geographically, physically, socially and politically. In the 1970s when the social fabric of the city fell apart martyrs square got its fair share of hatred, bullets, and death. The green line divided the city of Beirut into east and west and passed through the square in a no mans land.
In the early 1990s when the war was finally over the surrounding buildings were razed to the floor to start a period of 'reconstruction' and amnesia.
Nowadays, it is the city’s most important place of protest, of which the 2005 demonstrations are probably the best example: After the murder on Rafiq Hariri on Valentine’s Day in 2005, protesters blaming Syria for the assassination clashed with the Lebanese army and a three-week anti-Syrian protest followed.
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