Douma, Batroun, Lebanon
Douma is a Lebanese village dating back to ancient times. It is noted for its stunning location, natural beauty, and rural and agricultural character. Located at 1,200 metres above sea level, it has preserved its urban and cultural heritage over the years proudly displaying a massive number of historical and cultural landmarks.
Douma is a model of an inland mountain town which played a crucial role in the governance and trade of Mount Lebanon, located between Tripoli City on the Mediterranean Sea and Baalbek in the Beqaa fertile valley. It is like other villages of Mount Lebanon in this regard, but the difference is that Douma succeeded in preserving its cultural heritage and avoiding chaotic urban expansion.
The village stretches from heights of 175 to 750 metres above sea level, creating levels of natural vegetation including fir, oak and pine or planted vegetation such as apple, cherry, and olive orchards. In addition, Douma offers stunning views and panoramas over the cliffs of Mar Yaaqoub and Hardine or the plain of Beit Chlela, where Nahr el-Joz river runs before reaching the Kfar Helda waterfall.
Safeguarding the Old Souk
The most innovative initiatives in Douma are safeguarding the old souk and renovating the organization of cultural, artistic, and touristic festivals sustained since 1995. The recent restoration works discovered antiquities dating back to the Byzantine era (550 AD). A committee of specialists was thereby formed under the guidance of the General Directorate of Antiquities at the Ministry of Culture. The main objective of this initiative is to treat, transfer and restore the unveiled antiquities in accordance with scientific and legal principles. In addition, other renovations conducted to modernize its infrastructure include sewage, water, electricity, pavements, shops, wooden doors and canopies.
Inclusion of farmers and food producers
The village promotes its essential products and competes with them locally and internationally. Douma is renowned for its high-quality olive oil, delicious, sweet apples, excellent vineyards and animal products. These products are locally processed from source to final product. Over 30 farmers were trained by the Al-Arja Foundation in 2022. Notable establishments include an oriental ice cream factory, an international halloumi cheese production facility, a high-quality Doumani olive oil packaging and export center, local wineries, and a cidery utilizing Douma apples. Notably,60% of the farmers practice organic farming.
A green village
At the beginning of 2018, the village developed awareness campaigns aimed at replacing plastic bags with paper. New waste containers have been placed, and a waste sorting campaign was launched in 2021, along with other cleanliness campaigns, awareness lectures, and home visits to households carried out by university students. Electricity for the village is generated from clean energy sources (600 solar panels), through the establishment of a non-profit organization called “INARA”, which manages this project. The village regularly monitors the quality of the available drinking water. The village bans the burning of tree-cleaning organic waste and over 40% of residents compost in their gardens. Annual tree planting occurs throughout the village and in the Douma Cedar Reserve. Environmental awareness is bolstered through annual lectures for residents and students, focusing on advocacy for walking, cycling, and hybrid vehicles; the shift to alternative energy, and the consumption of plant-based products; and food waste reduction for lower greenhouse gas emissions. Many reforestation initiatives have been conducted to expand the green areas in and around the village, to preserve the clean air quality and contribute to the quality of the freshwater sources.