Lebanon

Is Cedar Island A Hoax?

The more time one spends on the website of Noor Holding, the firm that is allegedly developing Cedar Island, the more one begins to get the creeping suspicion that this is one of the most brilliant hoaxes pulled off in recent memory.

After all, their other projects include “Canadian Town”, a luxury full-service residence town 10 km from the Iraq International Airport. They include “the biggest chair in the world”, and a building in Kurdistan called Erbil Towers “comprised of five giant business and commercial towers embracing and illuminating the skies of Iraq and carrying the biggest word in the world, E R B I L.”

After scratching my head about this for a few minutes, I picked up the phone and called the number listed on the website. The fellow who answered assured me that it was real.

“The crazy cedar tree island is real?”

“Yes, of course.”

“The company is real? The enormous building shaped like a chair, and the Canadian Town near Baghdad airport? These are all happening?”

“Inshallah.”

Truth stranger than fiction?

UPDATE

I’ve just received heard from my contact in the Tourism Minister’s office that the project is, in fact, real. It was first floated (no pun intended) a few years ago, and is now gathering steam.

Contrary to what they suggest on their website, however, the project does not have a green light yet. It still needs Cabinet approval, and will likely require a law to be passed by the Parliament as well, just like the proposed Sannine ski resort. The development firm is in the process of lobbying MP’s and ministers on their views.

I’d guess that they began releasing publicity materials ahead of time so that they could build some buzz around the idea.

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Discussion

12 thoughts on “Is Cedar Island A Hoax?

  1. Architects like to work on projects just to make a point. I had blogged about a couple of them a year ago. One can still be found on

    http://www.work.ac (7th icon on the top line at the bottom of the screen under Beirut)

    It outlines their vision of Beirut.

    Cedar Island is a hoax. The address of Noor in Beirut for eg. in “Riad el solh, Solidere, Beirut” Such an address does not exist.

    It is all a joke (and a very good one) to make fun of Dubai and the Lebanese. Killing 2 birds with one stone.

    MM.

    Posted by MsLevantine | January 28, 2009, 4:27 pm
  2. I think it’s a hoax too. Even if it wasn’t it would be a horible project full of obstacles and engeneering/ecological problems.

    First the Med sea gets very deep very fast, where would they come up with all the fill material? They’ll have to shave a mountain or two and the whole process is extremely expensive.

    Second, think about the ecological destruction, both on land and sea.

    Third, Lebanon is earthquake country. This fill will need over a hundred year to settle before it can support large structures like highrises, due to the liquification issues associated with the fill. The fill will shake like Jello.

    Fourth, I doubt it that a cost/benefit analysis will give the project a go, given the high cost of the project. Just mentioning that the cost is only $1 billion is a joke by itself.

    But I’m sure the author of the joke is having a blast.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | January 29, 2009, 1:33 am
  3. It’s not a hoax folks, Kipp report is very reliable source of business news here in Dubai, and if they confirmed it then I’d believe it:

    http://www.kippreport.com/kipp/2009/01/28/is-that-island-shaped-like-a-cedar-tree/

    http://zawya.com/story.cfm/sidZAWYA20090124115750/Noor%20Intl%20To%20Present%20'Lebanon's%20Cedar%20Island

    Posted by offended | January 29, 2009, 4:27 am
  4. Dear QN,
    My last comment got stuck in your powerful spam filter!

    Posted by offended | January 29, 2009, 4:28 am
  5. Offended

    Kipp may be reliable in Dubai, but if you read the report closely, it seems that their “confirmation” amounted to discovering that the company has a website.

    They got an email just like everybody else, and discovered the website just like everyone else.

    I am going to have someone who knows the tourism minister here in Lebanon give him a call and find out if he did indeed give such a project his blessing.

    Then we’ll know for sure.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 29, 2009, 4:41 am
  6. Guys, this has been floating around for a couple of years: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=425506

    Anyways, hoax or not, us Lebanese fail to be original once again:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedar_Island,_North_Carolina

    Posted by M. | January 29, 2009, 5:50 am
  7. Hi QN,

    I can confirm the Canadian Village in Iraq. Except it’s 10km outside the Erbil International Airport – not Baghdad. Well there may be on in Baghdad, but I haven’t seen it on my way in or out of BIAP.

    Erbil has a bunch of these little villages. I have visited a house in English village. Italian, American and Canadian village are up and coming neighborhoods. They are where you would find the Chweifat (sp?) International School in Erbil. I have no idea who built these villages, but I will be in Erbil next week and can follow it up if there is interest.

    I must agree with a previous poster about the unlikeliness of this being feasible in the Med. Beyond the steep incline not far off our coast, the currents in our waters would never allow for such a structure out in the open. The fill (where the international gardens will be) in Beirut is attached to solid ground and so may be feasible. I will not say it is lest it float off and away from the city in a few years time. đŸ™‚

    Even if Cedar island is feasible I think it is a silly project. There should be a few lessons learned from the economic crisis and its impact on Dubai. Just cause it can be done, does not mean it should be. I think that’s a lesson that should be applied more often in our little neck of the woods.

    Posted by Johnny | January 29, 2009, 6:42 am
  8. Thanks Johnny for the first-hand reporting.

    See above for the most recent update.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 29, 2009, 7:35 am
  9. 33 comments in 2 days! The Incredible Floating Cedar took your readers out of they holes…mabrouk

    Posted by mj | January 29, 2009, 10:45 am
  10. It seems I can’t post a single correct sentence in english…
    I meant “their” holes, obviously.

    Posted by mj | January 29, 2009, 10:51 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Lebanon: Cedar Island - A Controversial Construction - February 5, 2009

  2. Pingback: Global Voices in Italiano » Libano: l’Isola del cedro, progetto controverso - February 10, 2009

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