Because of all the historical cafes and theaters, Hamra was once the intellectual center of Beirut. While that has lessened, the district still has a cosmopolitan vibe, and is definitely the place to hang out for people interested in culture. Home to the American University of Beirut, the street is never empty of pedestrians. The atmosphere is a liberal haven in the middle of a country torn by political difference. Hamra is no stranger to sudden street events, and before the civil war was known as Beirut’s “Champs Elysees”. Today, it is full of pubs and coffee shops that welcome people of all sorts, and still stands as a testament to Beirut’s rich cultural history.