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(Summer Resorts 17, 25 and 27 km)  

Until the end of the 19th century Aley was just another small mountain village, but when the railroad linking Beirut with Damascus was built in 1892 - 95 it took on a new life. The train (no longer operating) made it easy for residents of Beirut to summer here. Some of the Ottoman governors of Mount Lebanon also chose Aley as their summer 

residences and the train station was often crowded with elegant passengers and their retinues. With time, Aley became one of the most celebrated summer villages in Lebanon.

Nearby Bhamdoun also benefited from railroad as it developed into a large, popular resort. Sofar at an elevation of 1,280 meters was another stop on the Beirut-Damascus railroad and, in fact, is said to have earned its name from the train’s whistle (saufar in Arabic). Sofar is known for its lovely tree-shaded “corniche” overlooking the Metn river valley and Mount Kneiseh. There is also the war-ruined but still impressive Grand Hotel and many beautiful old houses to admire.


(Traditional Village 26 km)

The road to Richmaya goes through Ain Traz, where Lebanese Greek Catholic patriarchs had their residence between 1811 and 1981. You can still see the traditional “discussion benches” near the residence porch, where people used to talk in the shade of the ancient oak tree.

Richmaya village is a pleasant place to walk. Old houses line the main street and several of its buildings are classed as historic monuments. Look for the 18th century maronite monastery of Saint Antoine of Sir, the Church of Mar Qiriqos and the old residence of Geagea Abi Farah. On the town’s hillsides are ancient tombs cut into the rock.
    The verdant area around the hydroelectric station below the village makes a pleasant picnic spot. It is cooled by the waters of the Nabaa es-Safa, the stream that also drives the station's turbines.



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