The town, which is the residence of a kaimakam, is built on two low limestone hills and its streets are paved with limestone blocks.
In 1880 Prenk was kidnapped by the Turkish authorities and exiled to Anatolia; another member of the ruling family was appointed kaimakam, but the Mirdites refused to obey him, and their district has ever since been in a state of anarchy.
Forty of the chiefs were seized, the people was nominally disarmed, and in 1846 a new constitution was inaugurated, by which the kaimakam was to be assisted by two Druses, two Maronites, four Greeks, two Turks and one Metawali.
After experiencing one disaster he defeated their forces and imposed a kaimakam, at first drawn from the Talhuks, but subsequently chosen from the Atrash family of Kunawat.
But the Druses still refused to pay taxes, to serve in the Ottoman army, or to recognize the kaimakam, and maintained their contumacy under the lead of the Jumblat, till 1896; when, as the result of a military expedition under Tahir Pasha and a great defeat at Ijun, a compromise was arrived at, under which the Druses agreed to pay taxes, but to serve in their own territory only as a frontier guard.