Hezbollah’s Ashura in Beirut

On October 12th, tens of thousands of people gathered for Ashura in Beirut, the highest holiday in Shia Islam. As usual, the ceremonies take place in the Shia suburbs or Beirut, where the Shia party Hezbollah, has its headquarters and strongholds. Ashura is a memorial day to remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, dying alongside his six month old infant son Abdallah and 72 of his followers in the battle of Kerbala on October 10th in 680. Until today, Shia muslims all over the world gather to remember and mourn this day when Sunni and Shia Islam had their final …

The martyr’s cemetery of Hezbollah in Beirut

If you are interested in Lebanon’s main Shia party and you happen to be in Beirut, make sure to check out the main cemetery of martyrs in Beirut. In Arabic it’s called “روضة الشهيدين“, which means “Place of two martyrs” in English. Many of the party’s fighters have died during the 2006 war with Israel, and since secretary general Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah decided to send his troops to battle in Syria alongside with Al-Assad’s troops, the number of martyrs quickly increased. The whole cemetery is quite big, yet these photos only show the roofed main hall, where many prominent members …

Oscar Niemeyer Fair in Tripoli, Lebanon

Last weekend I visited Tripoli in Northern Lebanon again, this time to take a full afternoon and admire the beauty of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer’s legacy in Lebanon. Niemeyer built a fair for the city, and construction was about to be finished within the next years, when the civil war in Lebanon started and halted any further progress. Today, about 15 buildings are still standing.

The ruins of Anjar, Lebanon

The city of Anjar, or “عنجر” in Arabic, is situated in the Beqaa valley, not even ten kilometres away from the border to Syria. Anjar used to be a big city during the Umayyad period, and has been preserved as a UNESCO world heritage site since 1984.

A visit to Tyre, Lebanon

Tyre, or “Sur”, as it is called in Arabic, is a big city in the south of Lebanon and was heavily damaged in the 2006 war with Israel. Nowadays, Sur has a thriving little souk, roman baths and the remains of what used to be a “circus maximus” from the Roman era. Right next to the archaeological site is one of Lebanons smallest Palestinian camps, Al Bass refugee camp.

Tripoli, Lebanon

Tripoli, or “Trablus” in Arabic, is my favourite city in Lebanon. It is the only city in this country that has a proper souk, people speak Arabic without using French or English at the same time and it’s a much more genuine and authentic city than for example Beirut. You can get amazing food for very affordable prices and the old city is very beautiful, and similar to Syrian cities like Aleppo. Don’t miss the big mosque of Tripoli, the Mansouri mosque, or the Hamams in this city, that are being renovated at the moment. One Hamam is still functional …

Mleeta, the touristic landmark of Hezbollah

My first time at this place was in summer 2010, shortly after it was opened by Hezbollah. Situated in the mountains bordering Israel to the east, Mleeta serves as a public relation platform and showcase for the Shia organisation in Lebanon. In contrary to my first visit five years ago, the place looks very much deserted now, but still attracts visitors, domestic and foreign. On the day the pictures were taken, a big tourist group from Sudan visited Mleeta. They also made a few changes to the exhibition, adding a few drones and Israeli spy devices that have been found …