The night has a special kind of intimacy. A slower pace, a sense that time is moving in other directions. Places turn unfamiliar in the dark; people look different, do things differently. It’s a time when things are allowed to disappear and become invisible – or to emerge from hiding, celebrate an otherwise concealed existence. The night is a pause from life during the day, but also a world entirely of its own. To see things, you must come close; to hear things, you must listen more. For this series, we invited seven teams of contributors to do just that. Here are their stories from the nightly world of children who lay awake and grownups who refuse to sleep; of people with insomnia or restless legs; of tired shop owners, dancers in the dark and sleepwalkers,all of whom have made the night their own.

Lights out Libya

Libya has seen rough times since Gaddafi fell. Things that once worked are no longer functioning; what used to be reliable cannot be trusted. This includes the country’s electricity supply – Libyans today are more and more finding themselves left in the dark. But, as it turns out, the blackouts also let people discover new things.

Night shift

With night comes invisibility, and who says we are less ourselves when we cannot be seen in a proper light? At an Istanbul nightclub, a group of people revel in the flicker of disco balls; shedding identity and taking on greater form within a spectrum of gender, gloriously vivid.

Tehran by night

Walking around Tehran at night means discovering a new city, different from the capital we know meet during the day. Streets, squares and neighbourhoods live another life at night; people inhabit them in different ways. Many areas become empty – or, at least so it seems. Because the emptiness at night is not void, but filled with things.

Marching through the dark

On April 24 of every year, Armenians the world over take to the streets to commemorate the 1915 genocide. In Yerevan, the commemoration this year, 100 years since the killings, took on greater significance. Young and old, women and men, gathered for a nightly climb to the "eternal fire", symbolising Armenia's insistence on recognition and remembrance.

Neon on the Nile

The moment darkness falls, the boats down by the river Nile come alive. Neon colours illuminate the water, music travels with the ripples to the other shore. Friends, families and couples make their way from downtown Cairo to line up along the riverside, where the felukas lay waiting with their lights and sounds, inviting them in, taking them for a ride.

In times of trouble

Syria is drawn deeper into the darkness, yet one community is finding some space to step out of the shadows. Once tucked between whispers and secret getaways, members of LGBTQ communities in Damascus are finding a new, louder voice in the conflict as society's gaze and the country's brutal security apparatus begin to look the other way.

Bonsoir Misriya

There’s a street in downtown Tunis, lined with places where the light is dim and drinks are served from coloured bottles. It was once a place where music made people smile and cinemas had moviegoers line up outside. Today, much of that has changed. Rue de Marseille may still come alive at night, but not in the old, joyous way.

This series is the proud product of a collaboration between Mashallah News and KnoozRoom and was made possible by generous financial support from CFI and the European Union. Art direction by David Habchy.