Published: 03/31/2013

by Choufi


BHAMDOUN is a town in Lebanon 23 kilometers (14 mi) from Beirut on the main road that leads to Damascus, lying at an altitude of 1,100 meters (3,600 ft) above the Lamartine valley.

Two separate villages compose the town, Bhamdoun-el-mhatta (literally meaning "Bhamdoun the station") and Bhamdoun-el-day'aa ("Bhmadoun the village"). A rail road used to link Bhamdoun to Beirut with the train station being a prominent feature of the town for many years. The station and railroad were eventually abandoned when cars became more popular. The population is mostly Christian Orthodox.

Before the Lebanese civil war, Bhamdoun was one of Lebanon's most renowned and favorite summer resorts. Today, the town has regained some of its past touristic industry as most of its hotels, restaurants and entertainment centers have been renovated or rebuilt. Tourists, especially from the Gulf region who once knew Bhamdoun, are returning to spend their summer vacation there. Many have also purchased houses or built their own.

It has five churches, three mosques and one synagogue. There are two Greek Orthodox churches, one Maronite, oneProtestant, and one Catholic. During the civil war, all five churches were destroyed, but they have since been rebuilt.

The synagogue, built in 1910, was one of three grand synagogues in Lebanon. It was abandoned shortly before the civil war, but the shell of the structure still stands .

In 2000, a winery called Chateau Belle-Vue began planting vines, creating few jobs in the village. It began producing wine in 2003. The "Renaissance 2003" blend that it produced won the International Spirits and Wine Competition's Gold Medal Best in Class award in 2005, and the wine is now available at restaurants and hotels on three continents. The town also contains the Safir Hotel, Four Points Hotel by Sheraton, Carlton Hotel, Alsheikh Hotel and many others.

Notable Families
Families who have roots in Bhamdoun are:
Haber (also spelled El Haber)
Abou Rjeili (also spelled Bou Rjayle)
Khairallah (also Kyrala and Kheirallah or Khayrallah)
Abdel Nour
Salibi (also spelled Saliby or Al Salibi)
Abou Khaled -Nehmeh