Just 23 km away from Beirut is the charming Lebanese village of Bhamdoun, once famous for its world-class wines. It was reportedly two villages, Hama and Dun, which were merged to become Bhamdoun.
Located in the Aley district, Bhamdoun rises to around 1,100 meters above sea level, overlooking the famous Lamartine Valley.
It enjoys a soft and fresh breeze and the smell of linden flowers during the spring and summer seasons, while also offering a trip to Lebanon’s glorious past.
Bhamdoun itself is composed of the town of Bhamdoun el-Mhatta (Bhamdoun the station) and Bhamdoun el-Day’aa (Bhmadoun the village).
Over 100 years ago, Bhamdoun el-Mhatta broke away from the village’s municipality following the installation of the railway station, which once linked the town to Beirut.
Its train station was once a prominent feature of the town for many years.
Until the civil war, Bhamdoun was one of the country’s most renowned summer resorts for the Beirutis and the Arab Gulf tourists due to its pleasantly fresh weather during the summer season and its overall scenic environment:
Beautiful streets, alleys, and squares surrounded by blooming trees and gorgeous views.
Today, the town is regaining some of its past tourism industry as most of Bhamdoun’s hotels, restaurants, and entertainment centers are renovating or rebuilding their businesses.
Whether visiting the Day’aa or Mhatta, visitors can take a stroll through the ancient streets to discover the old buildings, some of which are restored while others still reminisce on the civil war.
Best-known for its wine heritage and famous for its grapes, Bhamdoun once produced 160,000 tons of grapes, of which 40% went to the production of wine.
Nowadays, many are dedicating their efforts to Bhamdoun’s winemaking, and its wines are now savored around the globe. The town is famous for wine brands like Chateau Belle-Vue and Chateau Cana.
The town is home to an ancient synagogue, which was built in 1910 for the many Jewish tourists who spent the summer in Bhamdoun. It was one of three grand synagogues in Lebanon.
In addition to its grapes and wines, Bhamdoun is famous for its signature dish Hrissé. This dish has a rich history as its tradition dates back to 1851.
On the occasion of the Feast of the Assumption, on August 15, the town organizes a festival in tribute to the Blessed Virgin. All Bhamdoun inhabitants gather to prepare this Hrissé.
When visiting the town, you can check in at any of its many hotels and guesthouses, such as Le télégraphe de Belle-Vue (05 260 073) and the Cherry Blossom Boutique Hotel (05 262 030).