Ainata Al Arz opens its first hiking trail

Nestled in a sweeping Lebanese landscape, the rural, agricultural community of Ainata celebrates the opening of its first hiking trail with over 95 hikers of all ages.

Photo: Seeds-int

Ainata Al Arz, a marginalised rural village in Lebanon, is characterised by its green nature: with multi-colorful fields between the valley of the mountains and the fruit orchards. Ainata’s spectacular landscape is preserved by the local community, encouraging visitors to discover their beautiful village. The local community relies on agriculture for its livelihood, despite the burden of selling the local products by the farmers.

With funding from the European Union and a partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture in Lebanon, the Reforleb project has been implemented in Lebanon by CTFC (Forest Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia) and Seeds-int. Through the project, Ainata’s first hiking trail was created and opened as a sustainable social and economic project ensuring job opportunities for the local community; primarily for youth and women.

The trail is a smooth path of around 8 km in distance, showing the beauty of Ainata’s landscape between the orchards and waterways crossing through several historical and archeological sites related to Ainata’s over 2000-year-old history. The trail ends at Ainata’s water spring, the highest spring in Lebanon.

The funding has supported the design of the trail by an expert. The path was delimited and identified by cleaning and removing all the obstacles, as well as installing wood barriers and ropes for protection purposes. A training programme has enabled young volunteers to guide the visitors and the hikers in their journey and ensure for the community a stable income.

The launching of the first hiking trail in Ainata Al Arz was on Sunday, 14 October 2018. The event attracted more than 95 hikers from all ages and from different major cities such as Byblos and Beirut. The hikers were welcomed by the organisers, and by the mayor of Ainata.

The hiking started from Al Krane Hills arriving at the Karm Al Khan region, near an ancient Roman wall. The guide throughout the trail provided the hikers with a brief overview of Ainata’s rich history and on the state of the agriculture and vineyard of Ainata, as it is the second-highest altitude vineyard in the world, after Peru. The hikers passed through the old mills, historical houses and the old spring of Ainata.

At the end of the trail, a Lebanese lunch was prepared by the women of Ainata.

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EFIMED is the Mediterranean Facility of the European Forest Institute. Based in Barcelona, Spain, it was launched in 2007.