zahle2.jpg

Known by locals as “Arouss al-Bekaa,” or the bride of the Bekaa, the city of Zahle proudly bedecks the eastern foothills of Mount Sannine. Snowcapped peaks stand tall over the city in winter, and its 945-meter (3,100 ft.) elevation keeps the air crisp and dry in summer. The city’s dynamic hub is centered along both banks of the Bardaouni River, while the older parts of town quietly stretch out across gently sloping hills. Zahlawis, with their distinguished Arabic accent, are proud to call this town of wine and poetry their homeland as it has produced more than 50 literary figures and some of Lebanon’s finest wines and araks. Be sure to check out the iconic statue of a graceful lady carrying a grapevine with a harp at her feet at the city’s southern entrance.

 

The city’s main attraction, however, is the Bardaouni River and Wadi al-Arayish, a string of outdoor restaurants and cafés in the northern part of town.

 

Besides being the administrative capital of the Bekaa, Zahle is the third most populous city in Lebanon, and it boasts a wealth of naturally-grown fruits, vegetables, grains, and vines. You can also enjoy a walking tour of Zahle to soak up its traditional Ottoman and European architecture and vibrant gardens, and visit its clothing stores, souvenir shops, and hotels. Other must-see places include the Ksara winery, St. Elias Church, Saydet Zalzali Church, Deir Saydet al-Najat (Our Lady of Deliverance), the Geha House, and Souk al-Blatt. If you’re planning on visiting in the fall, don’t miss the Zahle Carnaval, Al-Karma Festival and the Flower Feast.

 

Getting there:

Zahle is 54 kilometers (33.5 miles) east of Beirut. If you take the Damascus road which passes through Bhamdoun, Sofar then Chtaura in an eastern direction towards Baalbek, you’ll come about the south end of Zahle about six kilometers from the Chtaura crossroad.   

Bekaa Zahle District Autumn Spring Summer Winter

Things to do

Domaine Wardy

A multi-award-winning winery in Zahle, Domaine Wardy is one of Lebanon’s largest and most prominent wine producers. The Wardy family bought the...

Chateau Khoury

At  1,300 meters above sea level in the eastern foothills of Mount Lebanon, Chateau Khoury was established by Raymond and Brigitte El Khoury in...

The Monastery of Our Lady of Najat

It has the largest bell tower in Lebanon. Built in 1720, the monastery is also known for its beautiful icon of the Virgin Mary, which was a gift from...

Our Lady of Zahle (Tower of Saydet Zahle)

Take an elevator to the top of the eastern Tower of Saydet Zahle and feast your eyes on tranquil vistas of the city and the Bekaa Valley beyond. A...

The Monastery of Saint Elias at-Towaq

This monastery dates back to 1755. It was renovated in 1880 after a fire. Today it stands as one of Zahle's most venerable monuments. 

Saydet Zalzali

Zahle's oldest church. Built in 1700, it originally stood at the center of the city. 

St. Elias Church

Built in 1720, it was Zahle’s second church. This impressive structure is also known as Al-Moukhallasiah, and is connected by an underground tunnel...

The Saraya (Serail)

The Old Serail, or municipality house, in the old part of town dates back to 1885. This beautiful historic building is a mix of European and Oriental...