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Open map of LebanonFlag of LebanonLebanon / Cities and Towns /
Arabic: zahlah
Other spellings: Zahla; Zahlah; Zahleh

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Zahle, Lebanon

Town in central-eastern Lebanon with 60,000 inhabitants (2003 estimate), in the Bekaa Valley on the eastern slopes of Mount Sannin, at an elevation of 950 metres. It is the administrative and commercial centre for its region. Some estimates gives Zahle a population of 150,000.
Zahle is traditionally a farming centre, specializing in fruits, vineyards and the production of the alcoholic beverage arak. Since the Lebanese Civil War taken over many industries and business companies from Beirut. It also serves as a summer resort.
Zahle is conveniently located midway between Beirut and the capital of Syria, Damascus, to which it is connected by rail and road.
Zahle is a charming town, with its centre along the Bardouni River and climbing up the mountain sides by terraces. Zahle has several old churches and is known for its outdoor cafes and restaurants.
Zahle is a Christian town, the largest in the Middle East. The population is half Melkite Greek Catholics, the other half are divided between Maronite and Greek Orthodox Christians.

Around 1700: Zahle is founded by Christian refugees from northern Syria. It is arranged with 3 separate quarters, each governing itself.
1860: Burned and plundered.
1885: Is connected to the railroad, which results in economic growth.

By Tore Kjeilen