Beirut Hippodrome

Horse Racing in Beirut

Beirut’s ‘new’ Hippodrome (dating from the 19th century instead of the Roman era) has an extremely chequered past. In the 1960s, it was one of the busiest racetracks in the world; in 1982, it was occupied by the Israeli army during the Lebanese civil war. (The occupation is memorably depicted in the film Waltz With Bashir.) These days, the horses run on Sundays, and it’s quite the jolly to watch them among Beirut’s salt-of-the-earth types (mostly old men).