Zgharta, or Zghorta is a large town in North Lebanon, with an estimated population of around 90,000.
Zgharta is about 300 metres above sea level and lies between the rivers of Jouit and Rashein. It is 23 kilometres from Ehden, 11 kilometres from the coastal city of Tripoli, 88,7 kilometres from the capital of Lebanon, Beirut, and 82 kilometres from the nearest Syrian city, Tartous. Its history and people are closely associated with the village of Ehden. Most of the citizens of Zgharta have houses in Ehden where they spend the summer.
It is the seat of Zgharta District (Qadaa' Zgharta). Zgharta is closely related to the mountain town of Ehden, essentially sharing the same population. Each summer, most of the people in Zgharta move to spend their summer in Ehden; this is reversed in winter when Ehden is practically deserted. Zghartawis speak the Lebanese dialect with a distinctive accent, the original Syriac accent applied on Arabic language. Syriac was taught in local schools till the mid 1900s.
Zgharta had two Presidents of Lebanon: Suleiman Frangieh and Rene Moawad, and many prominent politicians: Hamid Frangieh, Youssef Karam, Semaan El Douaihy, Suleiman Frangieh, Jr (actual MP), Nayla Moawad, Estephan El Douaihy (actual MP), Salim Bey Karam (actual MP and current Minister), Tony Frangieh, Jawad Boulos, Michel Moawad and Youssef Bahha El Douaihy. Ehden also produced at least four patriarchs of the Maronite church (Gregorios Of Ehden, David Of Ehden, Jeremiah of Amshit (1199-1230), Youhanna Makhlouf (1609-1633), George Omaira (1634-1644), Estephan El Douaihy (1670-1704) ) and an Ottoman era nationalist leader Youssef Bey Karam who led a rebellion against Turkish rule. Political power in Zgharta district is dominated by a few rival families from the town: the Karam, Frangieh, Douaihy, Moawad and Makary
Many historians agree that the name Zgharta has been derived from the Aramaic term "zaghar" meaning fortress and in Syriac, the term "Zegharteh" means barricades.
Traditionally, agriculture was a large portion of the local economy, with olives grown for olive-oil around Zgharta and apple orchards around Ehden. Recently, the service and manufacturing sectors have seen significant growth.