No accurate origin of the word ‘smaqieh’ could be found but it is likely that the town was planted with ‘sumac’, a shrub whose drupes are often ground into a spicy powder and added to thyme, Fattoush and several Lebanese recipes.
The coastal town of Smaqieh is situated in the Qada’a and Mohafza of Akkar along the Lebanese-Syrian border. The town stretches across 334 hectares and is 120 kilometers from Beirut and around 30 kilometers from Tripoli. It may be reached through Tripoli and then Abdeh, Qulayaat, Arida and finally Smaqiyeh.
Population and houses
There are about 130 houses and 25 commercial and artisans’ shops in the town. The registered population is estimated at 2100, 55% of which are Alawite and 45% Sunni.
In 2000, there were 678 voters in Smaqieh, 304 of which headed to polling stations. The number rose to 948 voters in the 2009 elections, 648 of which exercised their voting right. In 2014, the number of voters amounted to 1120 distributed over the following families:
- Hassan: 132 voters
- Ahmad: 130
- Darwish: 62
- Abboud: 62
- Merhi: 43
- Alouf: 40
- Shamaa: 35
- Said: 217
- Abbous: 80
- Chacra: 71
- Derabi: 51
- Zannouba: 23
- Hazim: 23
There is no municipal council in Smaqieh and local authority is vested in a Mukhtar and an ikhtiyariah council
Smaqieh has an official mixed middle school with 200 students.
Residents live off agriculture and profit from the fertile land, which can be easily irrigated from the water of the Southern Great River. However, the river can turn into a curse when it floods and submerges the town.
In 1969, during oil excavations conducted in the fields of Smaqieh, healing sulfur water burst out at 550 meters deep and rose five meters above the ground but the sulfur spring is yet to be exploited. Research has also pointed to potential oil reserves in the town, so will Smaqieh ever step up and make use of its natural resources?