Robert Mouawad Private Museum

Museum in Beirut

The world would be a poorer place if it didn't host idiosyncratic cultural institutions such as this one. Conceived and funded by jeweller and collector Robert Mouawad to showcase his magnificent and eclectic collection of art, furniture, carpets and antiquities, it is housed in the former home of the late Lebanese politician and art collector Henri Philippe Pharaoun, and set in lush gardens. At time of research, it was closed for extensive refurbishment and no date had been set for reopening.

Built in the neo-Gothic style in 1911, the mansion was significantly rebuilt and totally redecorated by Pharaoun, and reflects his infatuation with Islamic art and architecture. Decorative wooden panels throughout the house date back to the 19th century and were largely sourced in Syria. Exhibits range from Byzantine icons, Mamluk ceramics and classical statuary to the Mouawad-produced 'Very Expensive Fantasy Bra', encrusted with precious stones, which is worth US$11 million (yes, really).