Tourist Attractions - Zahle

Location:  52 Kilometers from Beirut.
Era: Early 18th Century.

Other sites to explore:

  • The Serial: A 1885 government building with both European and Arabic influences.

  • Souk El Balaat (the tiled market): Leading to the oldest part of town.

  • Old Churches and Monasteries: The Church of Saint Elias, and The Monastery of Saint Elias at-Tuwak.

  • Tower of Our Lady of Zahle and the Beqaa.


   
Zahle is a relatively new city but has already gained a strategic importance in Lebanon. Late in the 19th century, Zahle was the trade center between Syria, Baghdad and Lebanon. It played an important role in the establishment of the country and is considered the origin of the Lebanese Army.
Zahle is referred to as the "Bride of the Beqaa" and the capital of wine and poetry.
   
The Geha House presents a good example of the traditional architecture of the Old Zahle that follows a 17th century architectural style.  The 7th generation of the Geha family is still residing in this house. It has 24 rooms and more interestingly a 1400m long tunnel that leads to the  Church of St. Elias.
   
Zahle hosts several annual local celebrations. The most popular is held between the 10th and 20th of September  and is called the the " Festival of the Vine", in which "Miss Vine" is elected and flower decorations representing national symbols cover the place.
Another celebration on the first Thursday of June takes place each year and dates back to 1825 when the town was spared from a contagious disease. The festival starts with a parade on the night before and is completed the next morning by a mass at Our Lady of Najat Church.