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Bar Elias
بر الياس
Bar Elias is located in Lebanon
Bar Elias
Bar Elias
Location in Lebanon
Coordinates: 33°50′N 35°55′E / 33.833°N 35.917°E / 33.833; 35.917Coordinates: 33°50′N 35°55′E / 33.833°N 35.917°E / 33.833; 35.917
Country  Lebanon
Governorate Beqaa Governorate
District Zahle District
 • Mayor Saadeddeen Maita
 • City 7 km2 (3 sq mi)
 • Metro 35 km2 (14 sq mi)
 • City 40 000
 • Metro 75 000
Time zone EST (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) +3 (UTC)

Barelias, or Bar Elias (Arabic: برالياس; also transliterated Bar Ilyas), is a town located in the Zahle District, Beqaa Governorate, Lebanon. With around 60,000 inhabitants (mostly Sunni Muslims) it is the second largest town, after Zahle, in the Zahle Governorate. Barelias is a village of the Beqaa Valley, the center of Bekaa, known widely acknowledged by the transit passes, the center distance between Beirut and Damascus. As the distance between the center of the northern Bekaa and the south became important because of its central valleys and on the international line of the most important economic centers and the largest commercial markets, Barelias has good neighborly relations with the rest of the towns and villages and cities in the province. Received via Syria and Beirut over roads . Multi-ways from all directions through advanced in the center of the Bekaa must lead you to Barelias, it is an open gate to all guests and visitors.

Barelias located in the district of Zahle on the average of 900 m above sea level, at a distance of 51 km from Beirut via Damascus-Chtoura. Spread over both sides of the international line between Beirut and Damascus over the exterior 4 km and extends lovely plain green sprawling distances up to Anjar east and Zahle west and Kafr Zabad and Addalhamiah north and Almarj to the south.

A vast land area of about 35000 dunums (3500 hectares) of which about 7000 dunums residential and the rest agricultural.


The town is situated 52 km (32.31 mi) to the East of the Lebanese capital Beirut. It's possible to drive a car from Bar Elias to Beirut in 60 to 75 minutes, depending on traffic volume.


Bar Elias is located in the East of Lebanon. Its weather is known for its dryness. It rarely rains in Bar Elias especially in the summer, there is indeed a lack of humidity. Bar Elias summer are very warm, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees celsius. The winters are characterized by heavy snows they are also rather cold. The river Ghzayil flows just around the outskirts of the town.


Bar Elias's population has steadily grown since its foundation. At the end of the eighteenth century, Bar Elias had less than a thousand inhabitants and 50 houses. By the late 1850s, the population jumped to about seven to ten thousand people. The population continued to grow throughout the twentieth century. Today, Bar Elias is home to about a sixty - 80 thousand Lebanese.

Bar Elias is the largest Sunni town in much of the Bekaa Valley. 15-20% of the city is Christian, which is fair as Zahle province, where Bar Elias is located in, has a Christian majority. Unlike the Christians in Zahle which are a majority Greek Catholic, the Christians of Bar Elias are Greek Orthodox and Maronite. There used to be a number of Druze living in Bar Elias, but their number declined because of communal tensions. During the Civil War, Bar Elias's Christians were kept safe from any outsiders by the Muslims of the town especially supported by Araji family, however it is well known Bar Elias was the only town to stand up with Zahle and the Phalanges... a reputation well known in the Bekaa to date.[citation needed]

Agriculture and Commerce[edit]

Bar Elias is situated at the heart of Lebanese agriculture, the Beqaa which is known for its numerous vast plains. Most of the people of Bar Elias gain there living and sustenance through these plains. The people of Bar Elias primarily cultivate wheat fields, barely,beats, onions, apples, potatoes garlic plantations, and walnut groves. During the civil war, the agriculture in Bar Elias, like much of the province,did not fare so well. The Syrian closed off a good deal of fields, transforming into military areas. In the past Bar Elias knew large commercial success, which was mainly due to the town's location. Bar Elias is located on the passageway connecting Damascus to Beirut. Therefore, it holds an important commercial position.

Largest companies in Bar Elias : Al Mossawi Retail, Abdul Ghani ( Hammadeh) For Power Generators and Agriculture Equipment; Mais Super Market, Jamil Sayed co., Jamil Sayed Srl, Abou Hassan Housewares, Hammoud Trading, bayrouti, Al sultan, Aboujokh Electrics, Salloum Trading, Salloum servicing Garage.

Banks branches in Bar Elias :Credit Lebanese, Byblos, BBAC, Banque Libano-Française.


Like neighboring towns and villages, Bar Elias boasts many restaurants, primarily on the Ghzayyil River, which flows on the outskirts of the town. Fisheries, restaurants, and a nice enjoyable day on the river accompanied by music and good food is what it's all about. Nonetheless it also has medical and educational facilities, with about 8 schools varying from public to private ones, Barelias is on the lead educationally between other Bekaa towns. Moreover, it is also advanced medically for having a hospital and a medical centre, the hospital is managed by a Palestinian administration and it is mainly for Palestinian refugees, while the medical centre is managed by the Barelias municipality generally, and by a changing member of the municipality.

Families of Bar Elias[edit]

Araji, Kattan, Abdul Ghani, Al Sayed, Mais, Al-Hayek, Maita, Mrad, Karam, Alsarout,Seifeddine, Houshaimi, Swaid, Shibli, Hamad, Ghazal, Hamiyyeh, madi, Hidri, Nammora, Motran, Aboabboud, Abu Askar, Arafat, Abdalkhalk, Ayyubi, Ta'an, Elkadri, Abd Al-Rahim, Taliani, Zrain, Shaaban, Alfayad, Kassis, Haddad, Aboasi, Dali, Adi, Majthoub, Ebeid, Tarraf, Rabai, Geagea, Shweiri, Sayed, Safayeh, Trad, Daher, Hawwa, Hindi, Habich, Murad, Chibani, Halablab, Jammal, Abu Murad, Shehada, Farhat, Mubarak, Alwakeel, Almalak, Shikhoaga, Altaftaf, Allois, Khalaf, Betar, Shihab, Eskaf, Nsair, Aldedi, Hamraoui, Beiruti, Zarzoor, Manhal, Bashir, Sri Deen, Aldaher, Najim, Izzedine, Salloum, Rahal-Salloum, Boarchi, Maraboni, Albequaoui, Abouhala, Alhaji, Musa, Omar, Shihab, Barbar, Mohammad, Issa, Osman, Abu Nimri, Abu Tarabay, Howari, Alhaji Musa, Abouajwah, Al-hazar, Hermshli, Salem, Shawka, Hassan, Abdalwarth, Jaafar, Sahili, Hatoom, Shami, Asaad, Arabiah, Abu Eid, Rahal, Shaheen, Mustafa, Ali, Jannoon, Mirie, Abu Asli, Ahmed, Darwish, Khodr, Hussein, Alwan, Askar, Zabadani, Assaf, Reda, Badawi, Kasim, Badr, Ramadan Ibrahim, Al fadhl, Mahmoud, AbuObaid, Abdullah, Awad, Rifa'i, Alsrougi, Moussa, Alzaart, Mohsen, Karim, Solaiman, Saad, Al-Shiyah, Abunasser, Anoti, Kady, Shaqif, Rashed, Kurdi, Habsh, Hassan, Marzouq, Kromah, the Turki, Mihrez, Yousef, NADDI


Bar Elias is predominantly Muslim Sunni, however there is a number of Christians who live in the town. Religion is important in Bar Elias, like much of Lebanon. There are more than four Mosques in the town, and two churches. The Mufti El Mais, a prominent Sunni religious leader associated with Future Movement, is from Bar Elias.



The municipality of Bar Elias is located in the district of Zahle, one of the eight districts in Lebanon. Free elections produced a Municipality council of 18 members representing most of the families in the town.56% of the population elected the current council.

Bar Elias in Lebanese Politics[edit]

Bar Elias houses many political parties and political families. Since 1992-date of the first elections after the end of the war-all the elected sunni muslims deputies for zahle district were originally from Bar Elias : Ali Maita(lawyer), Dr. Mohamad al Mais and Dr. Assem Araji. Bar Elias' population live coherently and were never involved in local battles and are not affected by the sectarian atmosphere that overwhelms the country.Co-living in the town represents a good practice for the country to learn from. This refers to the strong ties between the families- Muslims and Christians- who lived for hundreds as a big family.

External links[edit]