In Nigeria, it is not uncommon to see Lebanese businessmen owning thriving businesses despite the economic climate.
The money made in this enterprises can usually be seen in the mansions they build in places like Miziara, Lebanon as curated by the Middleeasteye. Below are some of the beautiful houses:
1. The Pyramid
The first house is built like an Egyptian pyramid with small square windows that houses 21-year-old student Oussama Raymond Chagoury, his mother and five brothers, while his father works in advertising in Nigeria.
“A lot of people find our home weird; they ask about it but for me it’s normal,” Chagoury said. “Actually it has nothing to do with Egypt, my father just liked the idea of living in a house with inclined walls.”
2. The Airplane
Without a doubt, the most bizarre mansion is a perfect replica of an Airbus A380, which residents call “the airplane house”.
The home was built by a couple in the 1970s that now reside in Australia and boasts two floors, 41 portholes on each side, as well as a cockpit and landing wheels.’ According to Fadi Abboud an architect, building a house here costs no less than $2 million.
3. The castle
This is the largest villa in Miziara and has 30 rooms and costs $20 million. The owner is Elias Daaboul, a Lebanese businessman who made a fortune in the Nigerian oil sector.
Also you can find a four-storey castle with a mix of medieval towers, Ottoman arcades and modern windows, while another family chose to settle for a Greek temple with eight Corinthian columns.
Given that Lebanon’s GDP per capita is barely over $8,000 a year, the prices of these houses is even more surprising than their architecture. And it is all linked to millions made in Nigeria.
Deputy mayor of Miziara, Pierre Daaboul says: “Everything was built with money from Nigeria; our entire economy relies on emigration to Western Africa. Today, about 80 percent of the village works there because they make much more money there than here,” he said in a strong French-African accent.
“About 80 percent of the village works in Nigeria because they make much more money there than here. “Why? Because we like to show-off. A big house is a way to show that you are rich and successful. We like to show-off. A big house is a way to show that you are rich and successful.”
When the mayor’s cousin Elias Daaboul made it big in the Nigerian oil sector, he built the largest house in the village: a 2,000 square-metre palace with 30 bedrooms, a swimming pool, a dome, statues, marble floors, wood carved doors and moulded ceilings. But this wealthy house owners rarely use the houses, except on holidays.
“We see them a bit every year for special occasions like Christmas or on holidays. You know, Africa is not like Europe or the United States, it’s a place where you work, but the life is not good so we always end up coming back to Lebanon,” he said.