Environment

 

Location

  • 100 kms from Beirut by road.
  •  Located in the northern Lebanon mountain range approximately 40km from the city of Tripoli.
  • The road to Niha from the coast highway runs through Shikka, Kousba, Qnat and  Mazraat Bani Saab.
  • 34^13’50” North of the Equator.
  • 25^53’4” East of the Prime Meridian.
  • Altitude: 1350m – 1400 m at village,1860m peak Arz (Cedars) of Niha.and considered a Alpine climate environment.
  • The cedar forest above Niha extends to the neighbouring major towns of Tannourine and Hadath al-Jibbi, and is the largest primeval Lebanese cedar forest in the world, with over 70,000 trees. Lebanon cedar or Cedar of Lebanon ”Cedrus libani ”

Geographic features around Niha showing weather, wind speed, springs, ridges and Wadi.  Zoom in to find more information.

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Water Source

  • Wadi (“Valley”) al-Mizrab spring.
  • Nibi al- Kfour , Wadial-Shawk,Wadi al-Raml,Ayn al-Touti,Tahouni.
  • Private wells and springs are also located throughout the village.
  • Water from the springs are for domestic use, storage tanks and farming needs, which are allocated to each family based on a time-share agreement dating back from the establishment of the village, according to proportionate land ownership as well as traditional village agreements.

Agriculture

  • Commercial: Apples, dairy products, goat meat.
  • Grown for the table: Cherries, pears, grapes, vegetables, potatoes, apricots, beans, tomatoes,onions and
    B-Niha provides a wide range of exciting outdoor sports and events. At the venue, you can enjoy a typical camping night around the fire with some exciting activities in the morning like; rock climbing, abseiling, zip-line, hiking and more! bniha b-niha Award winning of the Green Phoenix Trophy for Sustainable Development in Lebanon 2016 .
  • Prior to 1950’s the principal commercial crops were wheat and mulberry trees. The latter was very profitable as the leaves provided the staple food of silkworms for the production of silk.Also Cedar trees were logged by relatives from Tarabay family and then transported by Camels to Dayr-al-Ahmir,to be used for construction of roofs.

Natural Environment

  • Mammals: Rare Wolves, Hyenas, Persian Squirrels, Wild Boar, Snakes, Badgers, Bat’s.
  • Plants: Wild mushrooms; wild herbs (including oregano, thyme, chick peas) and flowers
  • Trees: Lebanese Cedar (native), Conifers (native), Oaks (Maronite tradition near to Churches, formerly used by clergy as summer gathering points for parishioners and the education of children), Poplars, Pines.
  • Birds: Eagles, Hawks, Owls, Robins, Sparrow’s.

20,000 migratory birds come to Niha mainly in Spring and Autumn.  Fifteen different migrating species rest in the Cedar forests of the village, including large flocks of white storks. 

Website of Bird Life around Niha

Website of Photos of Ground Cover species above Niha

 

Seasonal Highlights

Spring

  • The alpine area offers a green blanket variety of different wild flowers, ground covers and orchids in full bloom.
  • Melting snow from the peaks forms rapids of running water, cascades and waterfalls most of which are dry by summer.
  • Most residents begin to return to the village in preparation for the summer growing season with agricultural activity.
  • Fruit trees flowering form colourful patterns through the village and surrounding areas.
  • This is the time for clear, spectacular views of the panoramic Lebanon mountain range and Mediterranean coast.

Summer

  • As opposed to the high humidity found along the coastal areas of the Mediterranean, the alpine climate of Lebanon is world renowned for consistent comfortable weather and low humidity. Temperatures average 26 degrees Celsius in the day with cool evenings and no rain fall between May and September.  Niha shares this good fortune climate. However, what is not widely known except amongst descendants and friends is that Niha’s strategic location and surrounding limestone rock formations provide legendary health benefits.
  • In modern times most of the village descendants who reside in Lebanon live in coastal cities but descendants from the village – young and old – return to Niha regularly during the summer for weekend stays (the car trip is normally less than one hour depending on the city location). Some live in the village for the whole of summer and commute to work. They are joined by usually dozens of other descendants (up to the fourth generation) from all over the world flocking to the village from their adopted countries with some spending up to four months in their ancestral family’s home or in the newer residences they have built for themselves.
  • Various fruits and vegetables are available throughout the summer season with the main picking time for cherries in May/June;  apples and pears in September/October and walnuts in October.
  • During the days and nights occasional cloud formations encompass the village for short periods often providing a feeling of walking above the clouds.
  • Sunsets from the village are a beautiful sight.
  • Social activities include backgammon and card games such as four hundred or “likaa” (similar to Rickitti K)  and “tarnib” (similar to 500).
  • Time is spent simply enjoying each other’s company and throughout Summer there are grand welcomes for visitors and international relatives returning to Niha.
  • Some women still cook bread over the traditional wood “sorj”.
  • Outdoor activities include hikes through the cedar forest, treks to the water sources and to Saydit Al-Qalaa,cross country 4WD trips.

Autumn/Fall

  • Majority of residents begin to leave the village to their coastal homes. Currently the majority of residents have a house in the Byblos region.
  • Ancestors’ families also owned land in the Koura and resided there during the winters as the village was snow bound and they worked on olive plantations to produce olive oil for personal use and for sale. Later, some families settled in this area including Haret El Khalsa,En Nakhle, Ras Masqa and the Haykaliyeh named after George Haykel .  The majority of land purchased in the Koura was from money brought back from working overseas in the Amercias as far back as the 19th century.
  • Rainfall starts between late September and October and continues through to April.
  • Wild mushrooms are picked in the cedar forests
  • Farmers attend to the orchards and prune trees in preparation for new summer growth.

Winter

  • Only about six families remain permanently in the village, attending to their livestock and safeguarding the village properties. The children are taken daily from the village by bus to schools in the local area.
  • Snow falls between November and April. Because Niha is at high altitude the winters are cold and wet.  Niha and the surrounding mountain area have the highest rainfall in Lebanon.
  • In 1982 and 1973 heavy snowfalls covered the village to a height of 4 meters.
  • the views overlooking the Mount Lebanon region from the village of snow-capped mountains is spectacular.
  • Depending on the seasonal snowfalls the village is usually snow bound from late December to late February,  with the higher elevations snowbound for longer periods.  But the road to the village is always kept open by the government and access is readily available through the season.
  • Outdoor activities in winter include cross-country skiing and snow shoeing through the village and cedar forest.

Website of Cedar forest above Niha and Tannourine National Forest

Website of Movie on Tannourine cedar forest above Niha

Website of Tannourine Cedar Forest Booklet

Website on Movie on mercury temple above Niha