Restaurants (Zahleh, Bride of Lebanon)
To simple say its name brings light-hearted joy, as
if it were the tale of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty
or Snow White. Zahleh is a queen, a bride in her beauty,
the loved one of Lebanon and of all the space around.
Zahleh lies almost in the center of Lebanon, in the
plain of the Beqaa, key central point in the region,
ensconced in the eastern flank of Sannine, summit
of the western chain.
The name signifies a slide, an avalanche, because
of its scooped-out form at the mouth of the Berdawni
Valley, narrow and confined. The town is 52km from
Beirut, sloping up from 900 to 1350m altitude. It
seems to come out from a narrow valley like a fjord
where abundant water flows between two narrow ledges
on which have been installed restaurants, cafés,
dance halls, gaming machines and various amusements.
These stretch for a kilometer, taking advantage of
the stream to make cascades, falls, pools and fountains,
under a cool shade that welcomes us all day long.
The town itself, extending several kilometers down
to the plain and overlapping onto the slopes, is most
picturesque with its houses, arcades, tiled roofs
When speaking of Zahleh, one is concerned mostly with
the valley, this valley whose sides bear vineyards
so it keeps the name of Vineyard Valley, with the
elixir derived from aniseed, wine and liqueurs. Zahleh
is the paradise valley of poets, poetry and wine.
Saïd Akl, one of the world’s greatest poets has
been enchanted by it, making it the subject of his
finest works. Many, many men of letters, poets, and
intellectuals belong to this region, names such as
the Maalouf and the Akls being famed around the world.
In the valley one may be served dishes and mezzes
of the most delicious and varied kinds, with bread
freshly baked alongside. The people are welcoming,
friendly and generous. A day spent in the valley is
an unforgettable dream, another world whose discovery
In 1864 the Jesuit Fathers came to Lebanon, having
received from the Ottoman government the district
of Ksara a little to the south, where there remain
historic Roman cellars unlike any in the world. The
Fathers began improving the vines with stocks imported
from France, and since then many presses have been
introduced producing wines of the highest quality.
During the vendange in September there is a wine festival,
with conferences, exhibitions, concerts, plays and
dances. Zahleh is full of life during this festival
and there is the election of a wine beauty queen.
There is a quarter called Karak Nouh one kilometer
to the south of the town where there is ‘Noah’s Cellar”,
42 meters long and 2.5 wide, Noah being the father
of the vine, planting the first vines in the Beqaa
in Lebanon after the Flood.
Some picturesque little hotels with decorative forms,
very typical and agreeable, receive tourist and visitors
at the entrance of the valley.
- Zahle, Berdawni Restaurants: >> View
Movie << (2009-08-01)