Localiban
Niha (Chouf)
Date of online publication: 12 January 2008 (Last Updated : 3 March 2009)

Location

Niha is situated 65 km southeast of Beirut in the mohafaza of Mount Lebanon (within the Chouf caza). The town covers an area of 2,750 hectares, with Niha square standing at an altitude of 1,020 meters above sea level.

Residents

The town’s resident population does not exceed 3,500 people, who are distributed among approximately 850 households. But the registered population is estimated at 5,000, broken down by confession as follows:

• Maronites: 7.5%
• Orthodox: 6%
• Druze: 85%
• Others: 1.5%

The largest families in Niha, in terms of the number of voters, are:

• Zeibyan (365 voters)
• Abou Hadir (247 voters)
• Farhat (245 voters)
• Gaith (222 voters)
• Haddad (179 voters)
• Azzam (167 voters)
• Abou Rached (87 voters)
• Ajjeil (71 voters)
• Rawayni (69 voters)

Local Authorities

The local administration in Niha is headed by a Municipal Council composed of 15 members and headed by Wahib Gaith. In addition, the town has two mayors: Mahmoud Abou Chakra and Melhem Mezher. Sheikh Al Aql Bahjat Ghaith (the Druze spiritual leader) also hails from the town.

Educational Sector

There are two public in Niha: Niha Intermediate School and the Niha High School. Thus, 127 students are schooled in the public institutions.

Service and Trade Organizations

These outlets are estimated to number 42, as follows: construction material (2), small wares (4), clothing and shoe stores (6), food shops (18), trade companies (3), oil factories (3), carpentry (4) and gas stations (2).

Agricultural Sector

Niha is known for its olive groves, as well as its produce of apples, plums, almonds and grapes. In addition, the town generates six tons of walnuts annually and has 50 cedar trees in the Niha Mountain area.

Clubs and Associations

These include the Niha Social Union that was established in 1961, the Niha Social Reform Society, the Lebanese Boy Scouts and the Niha Village House where local ceremonies and events are held.

Characteristics of Niha

Its most important touristic sites include the tomb of Nabi Ayoub (Job), Niha’s rock-cut castle, the Saint Joseph Church and the Ain al-Qat’ah fountain.

The reputed tomb of Nabi Ayoub is located east of Niha and has been enshrined in a modern building. Among the many caves in this area, both natural and man-made, is the Shakif Tiron, known as Niha’s rock-cut castle. This is a cave fortress of interlocking chambers cut into the top of a cliff. Historically, it was occupied by the Crusaders in the years 1165 - 1260 and, according to hearsay, it was the hiding place of Emir Fakhreddine II who fled the Turks in 1635. In actual fact, it was probably his father, Emir Korkomaz, who took refuge there in the year 1584.

Before 1133, Niha was the stronghold of the Druze chieftain Emir Dahhak Ibn Jandal al Tamini. It was in active use over the next 475 years under successive rulers of Mount Lebanon before it became a key fortress for Emir Fakhreddine II. It then became the last major stronghold to remain in the hands of his forces at the end of his long wars with the Ottomans.

Map of the road network :

Map of desertification risk :

Map of rivers and water springs :

Address

Municipality of Niha (Chouf) (2008)(4)
Address Main Road - Municipality of Niha (Chouf) - Kaza of Chouf
Phone Number    05/ 330 002
Fax Number    05/ 330 002
P.O. Box Not Available
E-Mail Not Available
Web sites Not Available

Sources :
CDR (31/12/1999)
http://www.informs.gov.lb - OMSAR
http://www.iimonthly.com/