Aley (عاليه) is a picturesque city in Mount Lebanon located 17 km uphill from Beirut on the main road that leads to Damascus. It is also the capital of the Aley District and one of the largest cities in Lebanon.
Aley has one of the largest Druze populations in the world along with Sweida in Syria. The natives are predominantly Druze; however, there are Christian Melkite, Orthodox, and Maronite minorities.
Many outsiders, especially from Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, own homes in Aley where they spend their summers, escaping the heat and humidity in their own countries.
The word “aley” derivatives from Aramaic, and means “high place,” referring to the town’s high altitude above sea level.
Aley gained prominence when a railroad was built between 1892 and 1895 passing through the town, linking the Lebanese capital of Beirut to Damascus, which provided the residents of Beirut easy means of transportation to the mountains.
This resort town with its increasing number of tourists and visitors has become one of the most flourishing resort towns in Mount Lebanon, and thus has garnered its historical name as “The Bride of Summers.”
The “Souk Aley” is a relatively long historical boulevard lined with palm trees and numerous red-roofed stone houses erected on the east side of the street. Several street cafes, outdoor restaurants, and nightlife pubs occupy its western side.
In addition to these, there are several antique shops and retail boutiques along the street, which forms the heart of Aley. Aley also hosts a well-known casino and many public swimming pools like the Piscine Aley, Country Club and Heritage.
The municipality contains 13 schools, 4 public and 9 private. The largest and most important of these schools is the Universal College of Aley, and the 2 universities: the Lebanese University-Faculty of Economic Science and Business Administrations, and the Modern University of Business and Science (MUBS).
Aley has 3 hospitals: The National Hospital of Aley (30 beds), Al Iman Hospital (52 beds), and Al Ouyoun Hospital, which specializes in ophthalmology.
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