After a failed international competition and an attempt to employ local professionals, Solidere, the entity responsible for Beirut’s reconstruction, assigned the souks project to Rafael Moneo, thanks perhaps to the recommendations of his Harvard Graduate School of Design ex-students. In the second half of the 1990s, Beirut was still in ruins. What was left of the souks was a site containing the remains of the Phoenician city Beirut had once been. Reconstruction of the souks was of utmost importance for a city rising from ashes, so though trade nowadays is very different from what it was in the past, it was decided that the guidelines of Souq al-Jamil and Souq al-Tawileh would be followed. Rather than a single building, proposed by some of the other contestants, a ‘citadel’ would stay true to the ancient city’s grid. This was no easy matter, however. Designing a city fragment that was sensitive in its meeting points with the existing city, that was identifiable as an entity, able to accommodate a large parking lot, etc., in compliance with all of the modern city’s ordinances, gave rise to a project that, given its size, would play a decisive role in linking the different parts of a city whose war wounds were still healing. The souks are therefore not a building but a living premise within the city. The Beirut of the future will validate this proposal once the souks become again the vital organ they always were.