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|Governorate||Mount Lebanon Governorate|
|• Mayor||Wajdi Mrad|
|• City||9.54 km2 (3.68 sq mi)|
|• Metro||33 km2 (13 sq mi)|
|Elevation||600−950 m (1,968−3,117 ft)|
|• Density||14,000/km2 (35,000/sq mi)|
|Almost doubles During the summer|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||+3|
The city is located on Mount Lebanon, 15 km uphill from Beirut on the freeway to Damascus. Aley has the nickname "Bride of the Summer resorts" (Arabic: عروس المصايف) due to its cooler climate during the summer touristic season. Other nicknames include "Capital of the Mountain: (Arabic: عاصمة الجبل) and the "Lebanese City of Fog" (Arabic: مدينة الضباب), due to its mountain foggy weather.
Aley is characterized by having a very wide variety of residents, representing all the Lebanese inclusively.
The permanent residents of Aley are predominantly Druze people. It can be claimed to be the City with the largest Druze population in the world. While the municipality of Aley is mostly made up of Druze with a large minority of Christians (~30%), the greater Aley area is predominately Christian with towns like Kahale, Bsous and Souk El Gharb being mostly Christian.
The city has also seen a massive influx of Syrian refugees since 2011.
Aley gained prominence upon the completion of the Beirut–Damascus Railway in the mid-1890s. The railroad provided the residents of Beirut easy means of transportation to the mountains, and this made Aley a popular destination to spend the summer months and enjoy its pleasant climate. It was the site of a serious accident on 12 April 1904, when part of the locomotive exploded and the train fell backwards down the 7% grade, killing 8 and seriously injuring another 21.
The city was for a while the summer capital of the Ottoman governors of Mount Lebanon. Kamil Pasha made Aley his capital and organised a Diwan, later used by Djemal Pasha where he executed a large number of Lebanese and Syrian Arab nationalists who sought independence from the Ottomans. Also, a Jewish community once frequented this multi-cultural city, and they maintained a synagogue in Souk Aley, but it has since been abandoned. In 2001, the municipality of Aley began renovating the downtown area, especially its historic souk, and the city quickly revived its role in Lebanon's tourism.
Aley has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, with warm and rainless summers, mild autumns and springs, and cool rainy winters. Snow can occasionally fall in colder years. The city is known in Lebanon for its often foggy weather.
|Climate data for Aley|
|Average high °C (°F)||14.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||12.9
|Average low °C (°F)||11.5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||156.0
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||12||11||11||7||4||1||0||0||1||4||5||10||66|
Aley is a major tourist destination in Lebanon and the Middle East. Its location and climate made it a favorable venue for shopping and dining, especially for wealthy Arabs from Persian Gulf states. This resort city with its increasing number of tourists and visitors has become the most flourishing resort 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; there are numerous redroofed stone houses erected on the east side of the street while several street cafes, outdoor restaurants, and nightlife pubs occupy its western side. In addition to these, there are tens of 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. There's also many hotels like the Highland and the Golden Tulip that has a bowling arena and a public swimming pool and spa. There's also malls in Aley like the Aley Center, and many Lebanese and international restaurants.
In 1910 Aley received the founders of the American University of Beirut (AUB), they built castles and lived there for several years. During the 1960s several artists performed in the hotels and the casinos of Aley such as Umm Kulthum, Mohammed Abdel Wahab and Farid Al Atrash.
Culture and education
The city contains 15 schools, 5 public and 10 private. The largest, oldest, and most important of these schools is The Universal College in Aley (UCA) which is considered one of the best schools in the country. It was built in 1907 by Mr. Shebl Khoury.
There are also 2 universities in the city: the Lebanese University-Faculty of Economic Science and Business Administrations, and the Modern University of Business and Science (MUBS). There's also the University of Balamand located in Souk Al Gharb in the suburbia of Aley as well as the American University of Science and Technology (AUST) located in the nearby town of Bhamdoun.
Aley has four hospitals: The National Hospital of Aley (30 beds), Al Iman Hospital (52 beds), Al Chehayeb Hospital (20beds) and Al Ouyoun Hospital, which specializes in ophthalmology.
- "Unfall auf der Hauranbahn [Accident on the Hauran Road]", Die Lokomotive: Illustrierte Fachzeitung, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königliche Hofbibliothek, May 1904, p. 49. (in German)
- ESCWA Archived 2007-06-07 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Aley Monthly Climate Averages". worldweatheronline. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
- "American University of Beirut - Natural History Museum - AbbyBliss". Aub.edu.lb. 7 May 1999. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- William MATAR (1 January 2006). "City of Aley, sculptures symposiums, paintings, glamour, Abdul Wahhab, traders buyers, festivals crowd". Discoverlebanon.com. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- "Municipality Members and Mukhtars for Aley Villages". Aley-Ads.com. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- "YASA". YASA. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- "AL AKHAA ALEY". www.abdogedeon.com. Retrieved 9 November 2020.