With its traditional stone houses with red-tiled roofs, views of the surrounding Batroun Mountains, centuries-old church, and recently restored souk, the village of Douma, about 50 miles northeast of Beirut, is a picturesque place. It’s not as beautiful as it is.
“My first impression was the beauty of the village,” recalls Lana Tanissa, a Lebanese archaeologist and rural tourism consultant who writes about her travels to Lebanon, of her first visit to the town. he said. “And the history of this village is so amazing that you feel like you’re walking into a history book.”
In fact, according to UNWTO, Douma’s efforts to preserve its architectural and cultural heritage and “avoid uncontrolled urban growth” played a major role in its selection to the 2023 list.
UNWTO points out that Douma also protects other aspects of its cultural heritage, such as local food traditions. Tanissa said one of her favorites is the town’s “raha sweet” made with biscuits, as well as zaatar, olive oil, cheese and jam. Many of the ingredients come from local farms and vineyards. However, Duma is not just about tradition. The village is also undertaking a number of new environmental initiatives, including using 600 solar panels to generate electricity for the village, planting trees and encouraging composting.
But there’s more to it than its beauty, cultural heritage, food and even sustainability, says Tanissa. There is one other feature about this village that immediately struck her. It’s the kindness of the villagers. “They have warm hearts. They are generous. They help and serve,” she said. “For example, if someone asks for information, they not only help; [them]but they will guide you [them] In the whole village. ”
To get the most out of your stay in Douma (and get to know the locals), Tanissa recommends staying in a guesthouse in a village where local families cook the traditional cuisine of the region. Masu.