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.
Owing to the timely submission of the monks to the Turks after the capture of Salonica (1430), their privileges were respected by successive sultans: a tribute is paid to the Turkish government, which is represented by a resident kaimakam, and the community is allowed to maintain a small police force.
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.