National Geographic ranks Beirut NYE party top 10 in the world

Downtown Beirut rang in 2019 with a bang, with National Geographic ranking the Nijmeh Square celebration among the top 10 New Year's Eve parties in the world.

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri congratulated Beirut on making National Geographic’s “Top 10 New Year’s Eve celebrations” list.

“No matter how much money we spent, the result is that the Nijmeh Square celebration reflected how Lebanon is to the world, and this is what we want,” Hariri said during a news conference Tuesday evening after meeting with President Michel Aoun at Baabda Palace.

National Geographic wrote on its website that “Each New Year brings a promise of peace in the capital of formerly war-torn Lebanon. Thousands gather to watch the light show on the city’s 1933 art deco clock tower in Nijmeh Square, the heart of central Beirut. At midnight, couples kiss and fireworks burst, shining over a mix of floodlit church steeples and mosque minarets in this eclectic Levantine metropolis.”

Beirut’s party shared the distinction with celebrations in New York City, Las Vegas, Rio de Janeiro, London, Paris, Madrid, Tokyo, Christmas Island and Sydney.

“Beirut Celebrates 2019” kicked off Monday afternoon and continued until after midnight, featuring 11 singers and over 150 other performers.

Hariri joined the revelry, with a video shared on Twitter by his Future Movement showing him fist pumping next to the DJ.

As the new year approached, the stage lit up from above and a countdown started 10 seconds to midnight, when fireworks were launched over Nijmeh Square. The party ended with a traditional “dabke” dance.

Beirut Mayor Jamal Itani had described the party in Nijmeh Square, which was organized by Beirut Municipality, as the “best party in the Middle East.”

According to a municipality statement released Saturday, the party was “the first of its kind in Lebanon, featuring a 360-degree stage that enables everyone to enjoy the performances.”

Another party was also held nearby in Ashrafieh’s Sassine Square with multiple performances, music and fireworks.