— Douma: a haven of tranquility
Thirty minutes from Batroun and far, far away from any kind of urban invasion, the village offers all the ingredients of a perfect retreat. Noise-free streets, beautiful traditional architecture, a charming old souk, a fresh breeze, and splendid nature rich with olive trees, Douma combines everything that’s appeasing to the senses and revitalizing for the body and the mind. It’s no wonder that the pronunciation of Douma comes from the Hebrew language word “Doumah”, meaning calm and rest.
Douma is mostly famous for its old souk that has well preserved its traditional cachet. Small paved streets welcome you with superb old wooden doors that open to reveal fresh local produce, beautiful artisanal works, and craftsmen forging wood or iron. With an abundance of iron in its oil, Douma was a hub for the iron industry back in its golden age (1881-1914), attracting craftsmanship and buyers alike, hence another name it has been known for: “Douma El Hadid” (Douma-The-Iron).
— Around Douma: Tannourine, Assia…
Douma is strategically located in the Batroun district bordered by the beautiful villages of Tannourine, Bsha’leh, Hardeen, and Neha. Many wonderful hikes and activities can be organized around Douma such as trekking in the beautiful cedar reserve of Tannourine, a visit to the waterfall and cave of Balou’ Balaa, hiking Nahr El Joz (the river of Tannourine), climbing in Tannourine, hiking Jabal Douma, visiting the 6000-year old olive trees of Bsha’leh among others.
Where to stay in Douma? Nowhere but Beit Douma, a beautiful member of the L’HOTE LIBANAIS Family.
The hike I chose to do during my stay in Douma was in the village of Assia, most specifically its wadi, 7 minutes by car from Douma. Assia is a village of exceptional beauty. It is rich in remains of ancient civilizations such as sarcophagi, old historical churches and old grape and olive presses. Assia has many springs and water ponds like Saydet El Qalaa Pond, or The Lady of the Fortress Pond, irrigated by a gorgeous waterfall. Assia is also known to be the last Lebanese village to make 100% natural handcrafted pottery. Visit Sana Jabbour who welcomes you in her house to explain more about the art of pottery.
— Beit Douma: another (worthy) reason to visit Douma
An extension of Souk el Tayeb and a member of the L’Hôte Libanais Family, Beit Douma captures the essence and spirit of this family of guesthouses that tries to promote Lebanon’s heritage and promote responsible tourism.
Entering the old renovated Lebanese house, you’re immediately drawn by the warmth of a place that makes you feel straight at home. Centered around a Dar, the first floor of a beautiful traditional house welcomes you with a high ceiling, typical Lebanese arches, a living room with a rich library, and a big table decorated with flowers and delicious complimentary desserts and coffee, just like your grandma would serve them.
Climb the stairs to reach the common lounge room warmly decorated down to the smallest detail. Flowers, lamps, wall frames, books, traditional fireplaces; every meticulous detail so subtly placed makes sure to charm the eyes and immerse the mind in the homey feel of Douma.
And when you wake up to the singing of the birds and you open your eyes to the mesmerizing views of Douma and the smiling faces of hosts waiting to serve you the most delicious breakfast, you’ll realize you never want to leave this place.
— Must-try in Douma: Istirahit El Moukhtara
You can find several dining options in the village of Douma but there’s one you shouldn’t miss: Istirahit El Moukhtara. Her real name is Jamal and she’s the one you should visit for the best Awarma, Keshek and Saj in town. She won’t mind opening her place and heating her oven just for you, while she lights up your mood with funny stories and makes you fall in love with her passion and kindness.
Jamal cooks for Tawlet where you can catch her once a month in Mar Mikhaël and try one of her specialty dishes Douma is famous for: the maakroun bi thoum!