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Trip Planner Middle East  /  Lebanon  /  Bekaa Governorate  /  Zahle
(4.3/5 based on 110+ reviews for 3 attractions)
Things to do: wineries, sightseeing
Zahlé is the capital and largest city of Beqaa Governorate, Lebanon. With around 50,000 inhabitants, it is the fourth most populous city in Lebanon after Beirut, Tripoli and Baalbek, and the fifth largest taking the whole urban area (Jounieh urban area being larger). It is situated 55km east of the capital Beirut, close to the Beirut-Damascus road, and lies at the junction of the Lebanon mountains and the Beqaa plateau, at a mean elevation of 1,000 meters. Zahlé is known as the "Bride of the Beqaa" and "the Neighbor of the Gorge" due to its geographical location and attractiveness, but also as "the City of Wine and Poetry" It is famous throughout Lebanon and the region for its pleasant climate, numerous riverside restaurants and quality arak. Its inhabitants are predominantly Greek Catholic and known as Zahlawis.Origin of nameThe name Zahlé is derived from the Syriac word "Zaḥlé", which refers to "moving places". The occasional landslides which take place on deforested hills around the town are probably at the origin of this name.HistoryZahlé was founded in the early 18th century, in an area whose past reaches back some five millennia. It enjoyed a brief period as the region’s first independent state in the 19th century, sporting its own flag and anthem. Due to its relative geographic isolation from the local centers of power in Mount Lebanon and Syria, the town did not have any significant allies in the region to fall back on in case of conflicts or attacks. The city Zahlé was burned in 1777 and 1791.
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