Zgharta / Ehden
Located in the North of Lebanon, Zgharta is a large town with an estimated population of around 40,000 citizens. With an altitude of 150 meters above sea level, Zgharta lies between the rivers of Jouit and Rashein.
This town is 23 kilometers away from Ehden, 11 kilometers from the coastal city of Tripoli, 89 kilometers from Beirut- the capital of Lebanon, and 82 kilometers from Tartous- the nearest Syrian city. With no doubts, it is clearly witnessed that Zgharta's heritage, history, and local residents are highly associated with the village of Ehden.
The district of Zgharta - Zawyié rests on the slopes of Lebanon's Western Mountains' chain, facing the Mediterranean Sea. The south western edge extends northward around the region of Tripoli and folds on the slopes of Kozhaya valley (classified world heritage by UNESCO). Zgharta's surface area is 2.6 million square meters.
Zgharta and Ehden residents are the same in both towns. They spend summer in Ehden, and the rest of seasons in Zgharta. Families have their own homes and properties in each town. This is in fact a unique phenomenon on both geographic and demographic levels.
Zgharta is the seat of Zgharta District. Zghartawis speak the Lebanese language with a distinctive accent; the original Syriac accent applied on Arabic language. Syriac was taught in local schools till the mid 1900s.
This relatively small city proudly paved its way to Baabda; targeting Lebanon's presidency with two prominent figures Sleiman Frangieh and René Moawad. Harmoniously, many other projecting political figures occupied several positions in the Lebanese parliament. Few rival families since then established their presence and dominated Zgharta's district among which are: Karam, Frangieh, Douaihy, Moawad and Makary.
Religiously, Zgharta's town expanded with marvelous churches such as our Lady of Zgharta, our Lady of Harra, Sainte Barbara, Immaculate Conception affiliates to the school of Charity sisters, Old Saint Joseph, Saint Maroun, Saint John the Baptist, Saint Joseph. With great humbleness and pride, the village Ehden devoted at least four patriarchs to the Maronite: Gregorios Of Ehden, David Of Ehden, Jeremiah of Amshit (1199-1230), Youhanna Makhlouf (1609-1633), George Omaira (1634-1644), Estephan El Douaihy (1670-1704) and the hero leader Youssef Bey Karam who led a rebellion against Turkish rule.
In the first four centuries after the establishment of Zgharta as the winter town of Ehden, Zgharta was an agricultural town producing olives, wheat, grains, some vegetables and coastal fruit trees. During the first third of the nineteenth century, Zgharta experienced an active commercial movement as a permanent exhibition for selling, purchasing and commercial exchanging of cereals inside and outside the city reaching other cities and towns in North Lebanon, as well as several Syrian areas near North Lebanon. However, the First World War halted completely this commercial movement. This matter was the reason why the Zghartawis learned local crafts, and owned professions to serve their town and neighborhood. They were also interested in sericulture to produce silk.
The war did not cease the Zghartawis from recovering and upgrading their professions in the town. Their local crafts professions extended into construction, blacksmithing, footwear industry and cane baskets, sewing, carpentry and others. However, with the development of technology, these types of work are currently fading since Zgharta is progressing towards the industrial sector and technology. Today, Zgharta is well known for its high quality production of olive and oil, recording a high caliber.
Many historians agree that the name Zgharta has been derived from the Aramaic term "zaghar" meaning fortress and in Syriac, the term "Zegharteh" means barricades.
Zgharta is the adminisrative city where we find the « Kaemakam » which is the governemental and most powerful legal authority decision that controls municipality daily activities and decisions as well as public administrations.
« Kaemakam » is the only reference to villages where municipalities are missing.