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Map showing the location of Deir Mimas within Lebanon
Map showing the location of Deir Mimas within Lebanon
Location within Lebanon
Coordinates: 33°19′38″N 35°36′40″E / 33.32722°N 35.61111°E / 33.32722; 35.61111
Grid position137/154L
Country Lebanon
GovernorateNabatieh Governorate
DistrictMarjeyoun District
1,265 m (4,150 ft)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Dialing code+961

Khiam (Arabic: الخيام; sometimes spelled Khiyam) is a large town in the Nabatieh Governorate of Southern Lebanon.


Khiam is situated approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) south from the capital city of Beirut and 35 kilometres (22 mi) south-east from the city of Nabatieh. The border with Israel is 5 kilometres (3 mi) to the south. Khiam lies at a height of 800 metres (2,625 ft) above sea level.

Origin of name

E. H. Palmer wrote that the name means "The tents".[1]


Ottoman period

In 1596, it was named as a village, Hiyam, in the Ottoman nahiya (subdistrict) of Tibnin under the liwa' (district) of Safad, with a population of 111 households and 7 bachelors, all Muslim. The villagers paid a tax on agricultural products, such as wheat, barley, olive trees, vineyards, goats and beehives, in addition to "occasional revenues"; a total of 6,914 akçe.[2][3]

In 1838, Eli Smith noted it as el-Khiyam; a Metawileh, "Greek" Christian and Maronite village in Merj 'Ayun.[4]

In 1875, Victor Guérin visited: "El Khiam contains two quarters: the one on the south, with a population of 700 Metawileh, and the other on the north, with 600 Christians, divided into Maronites, Greek-Orthodox, and Greek-Catholics, with some Protestants, who have founded a chapel and a school."[5]

In 1881, the PEF's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) described it as: "A village, north-east of the Merj Ayun, built of stone, containing about 300 Christians and 200 Druzes. It contains a white round Moslem holy place and a modern church. It is situated on a low ridge, surrounded by figs, olives, and arable. The water supply is from three rock-cut cisterns, one birket, and the good spring of 'Ain ed Derdarah."[6]

After independence

During the 1990s, Khiam became known for the Khiam Prison, operated by the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army during the Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon. Lebanese Muslim civilians were exposed to torture by Israeli and Lebanese agents in this camp and faced indefinite detention once arrested.[7] The prison was captured by Hezbollah during the Battle of Khiam in 2000, shortly before the Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon.

The town saw a major confrontation between the Israeli Army and Hezbollah fighters in the 2006 Lebanon War, during which a United Nations post was bombed by the Israeli Army killing four United Nations Military Observers.[8]

Notable people


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 26
  2. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 181
  3. ^ Note that Rhode, 1979, p. 6 Archived 2016-10-10 at the Wayback Machine writes that the register that Hütteroth and Abdulfattah studied was not from 1595/6, but from 1548/9
  4. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, 2nd appendix, p. 137
  5. ^ Guerin, 1880, p. 279; as given in Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 88
  6. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 88
  7. ^ Human Rights Watch - Khiam Prison
  8. ^ HRW, 2007, pp. 114-116
  9. ^ "Ali Daher - Soccer player profile & career statistics - Global Sports Archive". Retrieved 2020-11-23.


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