Tannourine, a Lebanese town rich with historical landmarks; however--like other Lebanese towns and villages -- it misses infrastructure and developmental projects.
The town includes five villages: Tannourine El-Tahta, Tannourine El-Fawqa, Houb, Shatine and Balaa connected to each other with a breathtaking series of sculpture-like mountains. But despite its beautiful nature, Tannourine--according to its residents--lacks living components and is a deprived region.
Tannourine is considered one of the most important summer resorts in Lebanon due to its high location above the sea level and its awesome nature. But the town is living a water crisis which reflects negatively on its agricultural sector, as well as on its tourism role.
Tannourine municipality deputy head, lawyer Neemat Harb, confirms that the town undergoes developmental scarcity and needs to be injected by many growth projects.
He added that the town suffered during the past years scarcity in springs and interruption in water supply; saying, "The village needs dams; however, studies have proved that they are not the only solution and they can be replaced by earth reservoirs or what is known as 'ponds'."
Harb confirmed that the Environment ministry asked Mouawad Company to stop the work on Balaa dam until some studies about the ground nature are accomplished.
It is to note that the Lebanese government has planned to build a water dam in Balaa and has contracted its establishment to Mouawad Company.
Harb said that the sewage system constitutes a grave problem as for Tannourine population, adding that the entire system needs restoration.
He pointed out that the Energy ministry has contracted a Lebanese company known as "Homan" to carry out the sewage installations and a French one, "O.T.V", to build a sanitation station at the nearby "Bsatine Al-Essi" village, but the village's population objected to that out of their lack of trust in the state and fear of directing the sewage system into the station which would rise a problem of bad smell and bugs in the area. The said population considers that the government solves the problems of other countries on their account, Harb said.
He added that minister Boutros Harb tried hard to convince Bsatine El-Essi locals to allow the accomplishment of the station on the allocated region but they refused despite his confirmation that the company undertakes not to leave any negative impact on the area or its people.
The deputy municipality head underscored that they are working with officials and politicians to find another place to build the station away from residential area in order to solve the problem of the sewage system.
Commenting on the roads network in Tannourine, Harb said that Tannourine is well-known for its earth roads which need rehabilitation.
He added that this issue needs the care of the Ministry of Public Works which has not given the area any attention throughout the past two years, noting that the municipal money is not enough to carry out rehabilitation projects.
He added that most of the town’s roads need to be repaired after the damage that befell on them due to snowfall and road collapses, underscoring that they are still waiting for the government to fulfill its promises and pave the internal and earth roads in the town.
Municipalities Union Accomplishment
Harb said, "The Union has paved Alsayydeh road and set up barriers on the road between Tannourine Valley and Wata Houb to prevent slipping," hoping they would be able to complete the expansion and pavement of some other roads.
Natural and Religious tourism
Tannourine is known for its natural and historic landmarks. The Cedar reserve is considered to be one of the most important tourism attractions in Lebanon as it represents one fourth the Cedar areas in Lebanon.
This reserve was opened for tourism in 2005 and it welcomes about 20,000 tourists per year.
Tannourine is also known for its relogious tourism as 50 Churches are found throughout the town down to Laklouk, Harissa and Shatine.
Balouh Balaa, a rocky cavity intersected by three bridges, is one of the main attractions worldwide, in addition to the ancient temples, caves and grottos.
These features have led to an increase in the prices of the real estate and boosted the work of the restaurants in the area.
Moreover, the municipality is working on organizing festivals and concerts in the region.
Harb said, "Tannourine Hospital is one of the best public hospitals in Lebanon," praising its sound management and refuting all rumors about it.
He added that the hospital provides best quality services and results, adding "it's a great match, in many cases, to private hospitals".
As for the cultivation sector, farmers complain that the production season this year was not good.
They said that the apple corps this year was the lowest during the past five years, same as that of pears, cherries and peaches due to the strong storms of this winter which led to immense losses in the cultivation season.
Moreover, most of the production was exported, leading to an economic disaster for the town and farmers as well, Harb said.
It is to note that Tannourine is known for its tasty fruits in general and apples in particular.
In this context, Harb asked the government to support farmers to stay in their lands and take care of it.
He also requested to compensate farmers for the losses that they have encountered, help them to sell their production and limit their migration.
Harb concluded, "Tannourine has not taken its right of the state budget at all levels whether that of infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, roads rehabilitation or building of important centers," confirming that it's the region's 25,000 population’s right.
Despite the municipality, regions' citizens and officials’ efforts, Tannourine needs significant support from the government to be able to carry out urgent and necessary developmental projects needed for ameliorating the town’s developmental and tourism image.