Baakline

(Historic Town - 52 km from Beirut)

Founded in the 12th century by the Maan emirs, Baakline served as their capital until the early 17th century when its most famous Emir Fakhreddine II, moved to Deir el-Qamar. Today Baakline is an important Druze town and seat of the sect's religious leader. The beautiful grand serail, the main administrative building of Baakline before World War II, has been restored and transformed into a public library. In the center of the village stands the palace of Sheikh Hussein Hamadeh, built in stages starting in 1591. In the area of the Serail are some Druze religious buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries, including khalwats, (meeting places), and a maqam, or tomb.

Baakline is also famous for its embroidery. Hikers should ask about the footpath that leads from Baakline down into the valley for some 12 km. The route goes past a large sinkhole, and continues on to two natural swimming pools on the Nahr al Hammam

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