Not as far as in 2006, Lebanon was at war with Israel.
Hezbollah – the Shi’a Islamist political/military movement gained most of its popularity, which was growing since 1980’s.
In 1985 Hezbollah officially announced the United States and the Soviet Union as Islam’s enemies and called for the obliteration if Israel.
The violent movement too responsibility for terror attacks and bombings of Israel and is classified as a terrorist organization by Arab League, US, France, the Gulf Cooperation Council. Australia, Canada the Netherlands and Israel, and a list of countries consider the military wing of Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
TRY LIVING IN THE COUNTRY, WHERE THE POLITICS IS PARTIALLY RULED BY RELIGIOUS ORTHODOX, WHO CONSIDER THE JIHAD (HOLY WAR) THE WAY TO ESTABLISH STABILITY FOR THE PEOPLE. IMAGINE BEING BORN DURING THE CIVIL WAR WHICH LASTED FOR FIFTEEN YEARS AND THEN GROWING UP TO ANOTHER WAR WHICH TOOK PLACE IN 2006. THAT’S THE LIFE OF MOST OF OUR CONTEMPORARIES IN LEBANON.
Yet, despite all odds, new life is blossoming….at least in it’s capital – Beirut, despite the situation near the southern borders, where Hezbollah was fighting ISIS in 2015. Despite the periodic suicide bombings and other terrorist acts, constantly reminding about the fragility of peace and life.
Photo courtesy of The Guardian
We wrote about Nicole Moudaber, who is Beirut native and is one of the first rebels, who decided to push the boundaries with music and dancing there.
Nowadays, Beirut is full of tourists, expats, and local youth and is blossoming to become the center of club life in the Middle East.
It’s hard to understand, how the short skirts and late-night partying is possible in a country, run by the religious law, but Beirut has become incredibly modern and open-minded. To the excel, where the lead singer of a local band Mashrou Leila, which tours Europe and North America is openly gay, which is not the first thing you bring to the attention when you’re Lebanese and get on the cover of a Western magazine.
Local nightlife is becoming legendary. International stars travel to Beirut with gigs, and the clubs are packed. In 2010’s, the Lebanese DJ/Promoter Romax Maurer, who moved to Beirut from Amsterdam, decided to turn the city’s nightlife upside-down. Or whatever it may be called, when someone gets involved in the local night scene and becomes famous in all the socially-unaccepted parties in the country, and then says he will open a club in the capital.
In 2012, Beirut’s first underground venue opened it’s doors. Uberhaus was designed to shift the emphasis from the service, classic to the local nightlife. No table/bottle service, just dancing to techno and house, and drinking the way it should be.
It’s been four years and Maurer can be proud of himself, his team and their club. The Uberhaus logo states the obvious – “We’re not here to play games”. Though the bottle/table policy was not easy to escape and you can still book a table on the dancefloor by buying a bottle of vodka, it is clear, that Uberhaus is not a club for everyone. You can visit the club’s page on Tripadvisor and read reviews; they are very cute. I loved the one saying: “Average age Young, beats all the same.” This one means that the place is perfect. The place has a roof, which can be opened at night and you rave under the stars while still being in a club. And then there came the Garten – the Uberhaus’daughter venue, which accommodates 2000 people during the summer season. It is located near the Beirut Exhibition Center and is more convenient to get to than the Uberhaus, which resides in the Beirut industrial area. Nastia, Solomun, Eats Everything, Luca Bacetti, Anja Schneider, Apollonia, Agoria, And.Id, Adam Shelton and many more have played there.
Then there’s The Grand Factory – a venue with a spectacular view, which is ready to host any kind of event starting with live concert and ending with a small-scale rave. A promo-group called C U NXT SAT makes the raves at The Grand Factory. The next one they are hosting is with John Digweed, no more no less. Before him, Carl Craig rocked the 700-people capacity venue, which opens it’s doors at 22:00 and closes at 06:00. Every week is marked by a huge booking – be that the mentioned C2 and J9ohn Digweed, Anja Schneider, Nicole Moudaber, the names you read on their invitations will make you get up and go dance.
And last, but not the least, is the Beirut in the Mix.
It’s a podcast you can find on ITunes and a party group, which sinitially started as a group of friends having fun together, and then a stable monthly party line with a series of radio shows. Now, they got more than 400 episodes under their belt and h9ost the biggest DJs. Go through the list of podcasts and we promise you will find something you’ve never heard.
Anja Schneider has been to Beirut twice. Her first time was in January 2016 and we asked her about her experience.
AS: I really love the vibe and atmosphere of the city. It’s really fascinating and inspiring, exceeded all my expectations. I was surprised how open and modern this city is and how beautiful nice and warm the people are.
TS: How does it feel to travel to a country, where religious law is so strict?
AS: This was exactly the reason why it took me so long to finally go there. But beside of the religious law, I could feel the huge cultural impact and how much everything is changing and how there is a special feeling around the city.
TS: What are the people like there?
AS: Like I said very warm. I felt welcomed and I could feel the proudness and strength of the people there. And of course there were very beautiful people there 🙂
TS: What do you know about partying in Beirut 10 years ago?
AS: Honestly nothing but I m thinking that it was different and more difficult. You could feel that the young generation changed the scene a lot and brought all their needs and ideas into it.