Bishmizzine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Bishmizzine (Arabic: بشمزين‎), or Bishmezzine, Bechmezzine, Beshmizzine, Bishmezzine, is a village in the Koura district of the North Governorate of Lebanon. It is about 275 meters above sea level. Bishmizzine borders the villages of Afisdeeq, Kfar-Hazir, Amyoun, Fi', and B'terram.

History[edit]

People[edit]

Bishmizzine is known for its export of intellectuals. The genetic lineage is probably mixed as is the whole of Lebanon. The inhabitants are probably representative of the Lebanese genetic pool comprising mainly Arab and Mediterranean people haplotypes as well as some minor crusader haplotypes specific to the time of the Crusades. The people are friendly, educated and hospitable.

Religious Diversity[edit]

Text to be added. The religious heritage of Bishmizzine is mainly of the Eastern Orthodox sect of Christianity, and a minority of Sunni mouslims. There are several historical churches and a mosque and local shrines throughout the village. In addition, there are also residents of other Christian sects, such as Maronite and Protestant. All worship places are located near the village center.

Geography[edit]

Environmental Features[edit]

Bishmizzine rests in the middle of the Koura plain, probably one of the largest uninterrupted olive groves in the world. It is bordered by hills and thus winter rain flows in water ways down to the town. The village rests on a large aquifer and this underground water body partially explains the extremes in climate when compared to neighbouring villages. For example thin ice develops overnight in winter while it does not in neighbouring villages. At night the temperature may dffer by 5 to 7 degrees C lower than the nearby adjacent surrounding hills or neighboring villages. Another factor that may play a role in explaining this climate conundrum is the fact that Bishmizzine rests in the plain at the base of the Western Lebanese Range of mountains and is surrounded by hills which act to trap any cold air that may flow by convection down the range from as high up as the Cedars of Lebanon in Bcharre. Hence there was a climatology station for the government in the village that utilized the temperature of the plain at 4 to 5 am before sunrise in an equation to arbitrarily calculate the temperature at the top of the mountain range. In the old days this environmental phenomena was counteracted by a pine forest that used to blockade the cold night air advancing down the mountain slopes towards the town. Remnants of this pine forest remain to this day and act as a picnic zone visited by many. The argylls soil in Bishmizzine has been sought after by cement factories that find its characteristics favorable for quality cement production. This has been a blessing and a curse at the same time. The blessing is obviously financial for the land owner and jobs created in the nearby cement factories however the environmental impact has been catastrophic. Huge deep excavation areas emptied of soil remained after the removal of the soil. These areas then filled up with rain water during the winter and resulted in a swamp/wetland like environment with rising humidity. The damp environment as well as soil erosion have rendered the surrounding area susceptible to fungal diseases ex olive leaf spot or peacock eye spot Spilocea oleaginea which infested initially the area around the excavations and then spread to involve the surrounding olive fields rendering the once productive olive groves unproductive. This disease now infests olives in an area up to 4 km away from the epicenter. Noteworthy is the recent natural transformation of these excavation sites from a swamp to a wetland habitat with flora and fauna uncharacteristic of Lebanon. This transformation has recently stopped soil erosion and stabilized the habitat. Also this phenomena has become a source of inquiry for botanists curious as to where some of the atypical flora came from ex. reeds characteristic of the Nile or Danube. Since Bishmizzine lies on the route of migratory birds some experts have postulated that the water holes became a rest area for migrating birds ex storks and hence the seeds were carried in their feathers from distant areas. The disease burden of fungal olive disease peacock eye remains high however and a concerted effort by farmers, government and NGOs is needed. A large area of Bishmizzine remains free of fungal disease and produces some of the best extra virgin olive oil and table olives in the area.

Climate[edit]

The climate of Bishmizzine is characterized by a dry-summer subtropical Mediterranean climate, and thus has moderate weather throughout the seasons. Summers are hot and dry, while winters are rainy with occasional light snow.

Government Administration[edit]

Municipality[edit]

Bichmizzine is known for its unorthodox climate.

Municipality Officers[edit]

  • President
Current President: Dr Fawzi kalash

Utilities[edit]

Electricity is supplied by the grid from the concessions of Quadisha electric company part of Electricity of Lebanon (EDL). There is a privately owned diesel generator which supplies the village in the event of power shortage. Also many villagers own their own generator. Water is supplied through a deep well tapping the underground aquifer and maintained by regular fees paid by the villagers. Waste management is mainly through underground waste pools, though a system of waste collection has been partly laid out as part of the plan to collect the waste of the region in a waste management plant. Telephones exist in nearly every house as well as low speed internet access. Wireless coverage is excellent and covers all the Bishmizzine area.

Economy[edit]

Agriculture[edit]

Text to be added. Fruits consist mainly of : Olive trees producing quality table olives and olive oil, Quince (Sfargal), Grapes: seedless and non seedless, Pine producing quality pine seeds, Citrus trees, cactus, pomegranate and a variety of other fruits in non commercial quantity ex. Apples, apricot, mulberry, peaches, plums. Vegetables include mainly peas, fava beans, summaq, and wild cucumbers as well as a small scale privately owned organic farm producing many quality vegetables ex. Cucumber, parsley, radish, mint, tomato, onion, garlic. Some fields are planted with corn, wheat, oat and barely but in non commercial quantities. Previously almonds were produced in commercial quantity but have been wiped out by an almond virus 25 years ago and have not been replanted also wild scented roses were produced in large quantity and a factory for rose essence existed but is no longer. Oak trees grow sporadically in the fields and are used for biofuels. Livestock consist of a small dairy farm and few poultry farms. The main experimental farm for the Koura Development Council is situated in Bishmizzine and is the site of several educational lectures and events for the farmers and Koura intellectuals.

Tourism[edit]

Relies mostly on global immigrants from the village returning for the holidays whether from the Lebanese cities or from abroad. The financial return is negligible and never truly exploited. The presence of some buildings of architectural beauty built hundreds of years ago has been an attraction for university scholars. The water collection systems and wells built also hundreds of years ago has been neglected but some remain to this day. The pine forest is a source of small scale local outings. The four ancient churches are visited on a small scale by the locals or scouts camping nearby or for prayer on the patron saint's day. One church, Virgin Mary, in the middle of the old village dates back to the crusader era. Recently outings and festivals to gather the villagers have been arranged. Shops that sell refreshments, ice-cream and snacks exist for the tourists that pass through on their way to major tourist destinations ex. Balamand Monastery or University, Bsharre Cedars, Ehden or Zghourta.

Transportation[edit]

Roads[edit]

Easily accessible from the main highway (Autostrade Al Arz) passing in neighbouring Kfarhazir and Amioun (Cedar highway). The roads are satisfactory and well maintained by the municipality. The road through town leads either to Balamand University through Afsdik, Fih and Qulhat or to Zghourta/ Tripoli through Btouram and Abaa. Also the old Cedar road remains which connects Bishmizzine to Amioun and the new highway. Many agricultural routes through the olive groves and fields are a source of pleasure to the hiker.

Education[edit]

Bishmizzine High School[edit]

Bishmizzine High School offers two programs of study for students: A full educational program from Nursery to Baccalaureate II designed to be compatible with the requirements of the Lebanese Ministry of Education.

Health Services[edit]

A small public clinic exists with limited capabilities but provides vital services. An eye clinic supported by a non-private organization offers services for a nominal fee. Private doctor clinics exist for different specialities. There are 2 pharmacies available. There are nearby hospitals that are easily accessible: Borgi Hospital in Amioun is 5 minutes away, Kura Hospital is 15 minutes away and North Lebanon Hospital(CHN)in Zghourta is 25 minutes away. The Red cross based in nearby Amioun provides free EMS service ex. patient first aid and transportation.

Global Emigration[edit]

One of the many Lebanese villages where the number of inhabitants is a speck compared to the number of villagers abroad. Global emigration occurred as far back as the mid 19th century with records showing young men and families migrating to the new world mainly Australia and the Americas (North and South). This emigration was greatly hastened after the economic ill fortunes of the silk textile factories after the advent of cheap artificial silk by the far east. The economy in the mid to late 19th century relied heavily on silkworms and silk spinning and weaving with at least 5 large factories in Bishmizzine alone each sustaining at least 40 workers. The first world war also took its toll and the civil war and its repercussions. The emigration continues till the present day. Some families are extinct and others are greatly reduced in number. However in the diaspora, if you visit any major city or town especially in Brazil, Argentina, Australia, or the USA you will almost certainly find someone whose ancestors come from this village. During holidays, especially summer, many of the empty houses are joyfully cleaned and return to life with visiting families.

Sports[edit]

There is a playground maintained by a local club where volleyball matches are held. Once a year in summer a volleyball tournament is organized and many teams participate. This event is attended by many fans from neighboring villages and by many villagers living abroad who happen to visit their loved ones for the summer vacation. Also there is a private tennis club with 3 playgrounds and night illumination and a tennis coach capable of providing private lessons. The excavations by cement factories in the plain have left ditches that are adored by those that like extreme driving with four wheel drive vehicles or offroad motor bikes through the challenging terrain. In addition there is a private club with auditorium where dancing lessons and other activities are provided. Horse back riding is also possible at a ranch. Hiking through the olive groves and fields is a popular sport for many visitors. In addition Bichmezzine volleyball team are the champions in all of Koura district.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°19′13″N 35°47′50″E / 34.32028°N 35.79722°E / 34.32028; 35.79722