Every summer hundreds flock to visit Hayda Lebanon aka the Village of Tradition in Zaarour, Lebanon. The village acts as portal into Lebanon’s rich cultural past, exhibiting primitive tools, food and entertainment.
From the official Papal delegates of Pope Benedict XVI to world diplomats and celebrities, Hayda Lebanon is often deemed ‘a must see’ when discovering the Cedar Forest.
Created by Fady BouDagher, World President of the International Festival for Lebanese Immigrants, the village is a heritage project embracing Lebanon’s rich cultural past. ‘Lebanon’s value and beauty comes from its intangibles, the things you cannot touch or see, but that you can feel,’ he says.
He is not wrong, there is a sense of serenity that overcomes you when you’re sipping on your coffee whilst overlooking the sunset on the valleys and hills. A sense of inspiration that radiates when you see the stalwart Cedars upright and strong, surviving during tough times and growing, a metaphor for Lebanon almost.
The village is truly unique in its architecture and attractions. It is home to the SAJ restaurants that serve authentic Lebanese cuisine and overlook the breathtaking views of the Keserwan Valleys. The dining experience is interactive in that patrons have the option to send their children to collect the eggs from the chickens and cook them themselves. Visitors can also experience the traditional Madrasseh (school), Dekkene (supermarket), Mastabe (stable) and stroll through the Cedar forest. To wind down after a long day, patrons can enjoy old-style argileh (shisha) and traditional coffee.
BouDagher believes that Lebanon’s appeal comes from its unbeatable sense of hospitality, generosity and unique customs. ‘This is the only place where you will hear constant invitations to coffee and argileh. Almost 24 times a day,’ he says.
Hayda Lebanon is a necessary Lebanese experience and BouDagher hopes to combine the village experience with that of the International Summer Festival in 2015. ‘That would bring big names in the Lebanese entertainment industry to the village,’ he says.’ I hope that it will continually grow into something bigger and better with time. For now we are happy with all it has to offer but stay tuned for more details about upcoming festivities in The Village of Tradition.’
Travel Details: Hayda Lebanon, is located in Zaarour main road, Northern Metn Casa, Mount Lebanon Province, 30Km from Beirut, 30 min. away from Antelias Highway.