Distance from Beirut: 23km
From Beirut, take the Damascus road toward Hazmieh, Fayyadieh, Dahr El Wahesh,
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 (sawfar 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.
Information From the Ministry of