|— Town —|
|District||Western Beqaa District|
|Population (1997 census estimates)|
Machghara is a small town in the Beka'a Valley of Lebanon, situated in the Western Beqaa District and south of the Beqaa Governorate. It lies just to the northwest of Sohmor and southwest of Lake Qaraoun, south of Aitanit and north of Ain Et Tine. The Iskander Spring lies to the northeast of the village.
Machghara is a historically Catholic (Melkite and Maronite) village, but currently consists of many religious groups, including Melkite, Maronite, Orthodox, and Shiite. The city lies at an average of 1050 m above sea level, over 200 m above the course of the Litani River. It is built on the slope of the massif of Mount Lebanon.
During the nineteenth century under the Ottoman Empire, Machghara was attached, depending on the period, at the wilaya of Damascus, in the wilaya of Saida, or the autonomous province of Mount Lebanon (Mutasarrifiya). It was part of Greater Lebanon in 1920. Due to its abundance of water sources, the city enjoyed a development of tanneries in the early twentieth century. This industry provided equipment to the Turkish army before the entry of French troops. Machghara was a place of command and trade for the agricultural activity of a set of localities in the surroundings.
After its attachment to Greater Lebanon (connecting the Bekaa, North and South in Mount Lebanon) in 1920 under the French mandate, Machghara became garrison town of the French army which reinforced its centrality in the region.
In the years between Lebanese Independence 1943 to the Lebanese Civil War in 1975 were years of prosperity for Lebanon and Machghara, which benefited from the construction site of the Litani River Dam in the 1960s that created the nearby Lake Qaraoun.
In 1977, the Syrian army invaded Lebanon and occupied Machghara. Between 1977 and 1982, new political parties took place in the locality, Amal and, later, Hezbollah. Machghara was hard hit by the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the city remained under Israeli occupation until 1985. Many young people enlisted in the Lebanese National Resistance Front led by secular parties that operated throughout the occupied zone.
In 1986 clashes broke out between Hezbollah guerrillas and opposing forces. During this period, Hezbollah gained a monopoly of armed resistance in the occupied zone. Houses were burned, and many Christian families fled and emigrated to Canada and Australia. Muslim families were installed by Hezbollah in the abandoned Christian homes. This episode created a deep tear in the city. In 2004, the election of a new multi-faith council chaired by a Christian was the culmination of the reconciliation efforts, which aimed for the return of Christian families to their homes. Between 1986 and 2006, Machghara underwent several Israeli bombings.
- Salim Ghazal - Melkite bishop and Pacem in Terris recipient
- Michel Halim Abu Arraj - Magistrate, former President of the Beirut Criminal Court
- Rabih Abou-Khalil - musician
- Hassan Awada - former Comptroller General of Finance, lawyer
- Tony Baroud - LBC host
- Walid Hourani - pianist
- Sharif Husseini - former board member of the Judiciary
- Nasser Nasrallah - MP, former Director General of the Litani River Authority
- Louis Salamoun - Brazilian MP
- Nasri Sayegh - writer, journalist, political analyst
- Fawwaz Traboulsi - writer, journalist, politician
- Suleiman Traboulsi - former Minister of Water Resources
- Riad Kassem - former dean at Lebanese University
- Samir Mansour
- Karim Abu Arraj - Merchant, owner of tanneries in Beirut
- Nadim Abou Arraj - Former Commissioner of Suretée Generale
- Ali Awada - former dean of the Association of Chartered Accountants
- Riad Charara - TV host
- Debs Khalil - journalist, politician
- Hussein Mansour - former MP
- Zaki Nassif - musician and singer
- Fouad Rizk - former Minister of Justice
- Ali Mahmoud - Lebanese Basketball Player
- Abou Aarraj
- Abou Abdo
- Abou Ghannam
- Abou Ghanem
- Abou Khalil
- Abou Nader
- Hajj Ali
- Le Commerce du Levant. Société de la presse économique. 1967. p. 40. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
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