The Dannieh Region
The Dannieh region is located in the upper part of the Minieh-Dannieh Caza in the Mohafazat of North Lebanon. Before the establishment of this Caza in 1993, the area was administratively attached to Tripoli. Dannieh is surrounded by the Caza of Hermel to the east, the city of Tripoli to the west, the Cazas of Zgharta and Bcharreh to the south, and the Mohafazat of Aakkar to the north.
Dannieh comprises 49 villages and covers around 90% of the Caza's total area. The remaining 10% is covered by Minieh. Access to the Hermel region is via the Sir-Jbab El Homr-Hermel road which traverses Lebanon's western mountain range. The Union of Dannieh Municipalities, established in 2004, regroups 23 municipalities from 28 exiting municipalities in Dannieh.
Dannieh has a rural character, with just a few large villages such as Bakhaoun and Sir. Agriculture is the preeminent economic activity, representing around 70% of the area's economy. Around 50% of Dannieh's lands are cultivated.
Dannieh is known for its beautiful natural resources, breathtaking landscapes, excellent climate and rich cultural heritage. The mountains are lush green during the summer time and snowcapped in winter. They embrace Kornet el Sawda to the south, the highest peak in the Near East rising at 3,088 m, and Wadi Jouhannam to the north, the deepest valley in Lebanon with 1,150 m depth. The inhabited parts of Dannieh are covered mostly with fruit orchards.
Dannieh contains one of the largest underground water reservoirs in Lebanon and the Middle East. More than 200 springs have been identified in the mountains of Dannieh, including Nabaa Al Sukkar in Nemrine, one of the highest springs in Lebanon located at 1,713 m above sea level.
The multiple archeological ruins found in Dannieh demonstrate the passage of several cultures through the region, from the Phoenicians to the Ottomans. Several of the Dannieh villages' names have Semitic roots, which demonstrate their ancient origins.
The most important villages and landmarks of Dannieh are :
- Sfireh and its Roman Temple (Altitude: 1050 m, Distance from Beirut: 118 km) The Sfireh temple was built in the time of the Emperor Septimius Severus in the 2nd century AD.
- Bakhaoun (Altitude: 700 m, Distance from Beirut: 105 km) The village of Bakhaoun serves as a summer resort for the residents of Tripoli and neighboring areas. The name of Bakhaoun originates from the Semitic root word Bakhah (the English meaning is "stating what is right" or "exaggerating in blame").
- Sir (Altitude: 900 to 1200 m, Distance from Beirut: 110 km) Sir, also known as Sir el Dannieh, is considered as the central village of the Dannieh region
- Bekaa-Sefrine (Altitude: 1100 m, Distance from Beirut: 114 km) Many persons believe that the village's name is a composite word, meaning "bird's plain" in English, which originates from the Syriac language
- Qmammine (Altitude: 1000 m, Distance from Beirut: 132 km) The village's name is the plural for "Qmine", meaning trap in English.
- Btourmaz (Altitude: 650 m, Distance from Beirut: 119 km) Some researchers trace the name of Btourmaz back to the old Semitic language, meaning "leather making", while others argue that it means "mountain of mining".
- Kfarhabou (Altitude: 300 m, Distance from Beirut: 100 km) The name originates from the Syriac language, meaning "the creditor's village."
Other important natural sites
- Zahlan Grotto The Zahlan Grottowas was discovered by the Spéléo Club du Liban (SCL) in 1964
- Ouyoun El Samak Ouyoun el Samak is a 50,000 m2 lake located west of Dannieh on the border with the Akkar Mohafazat.
- Jabal el Makmel and Kornet el Sawda The Dannieh region offers a scenic overview to Jabal el Makmel, one of the most significant mountain ranges in Lebanon and the Near East.
Other important archeological sites in Dannieh:
- Roman columns. Sarcophagus, and Phoenician wells in Aymar
- Ruins of Aicha fortress in Karm el Mohr (2,240 m above sea level)
- Castle of Aicha in Bchennata
- Ancient convent and wells in Debael