There are places in Lebanon that beat overseas travel. You just have to have the sense of adventure to go out and see them. One of those places is a tiny village in the Koura district called Anfeh (it literally translates into nose ).
Located approximately 65 kilometers north of Beirut, Anfeh is largely overlooked by tourists. That was until some beach-goers snapped photos of this epic village, attracting even more photo-snapping, Instagram-uploading beachgoers and so on and so forth. Now, the coastal town is so busy with tourists you can barely find a place to sit.
It's known mostly for its uncanny resemblance to the Cycladic Greek islands, thanks to its whitewashed houses that teeter off the edge of deep blue seas. But there is so much more to this charming little village than that.
1. Anfeh was on the World Monuments Watch List in 1998, 2000 and 2002
As with most beautiful public spaces in Lebanon, Anfeh's rich heritage and ecology is under threat from development in nearby areas. The watch has encouraged archeological excavations to promote the preservation of this 1,000+ year old town.
2. People of the town affectionately call the beach area its well-known for as Anforini
The town's total area encompasses 4,937,721 m2 with a population of about 6,500.
3. The seaside fishing town is filled with 1,000+ year old churches and caves
The village is built around the ruins of several cities dating back to the pre-Phoenician period. Deir el-Natour, Saydet el-Rih and Notre-Dame des Vents are some of these.
The best known church is Saydet el-Rih, which is considered to be the oldest church in the village built during the Byzantine era. It is believed that sailors and fishermen from within the village built the chapel so that Virgin Mary would protect them as they sailed across the Mediterranean.
4. Almost all of its inhabitants belong to the Greek Orthodox Church
So it's no surprise that the village is a mashup of some Greek cities.
5. It is also widely known for its salt production
The village and the surrounding area is covered by salines, the reason behind the salt marshes alongside the length of the bay. The production of sea salt is a staple of the local economy, and it is referred to as "white gold."
Back when barter trading was the modus operandi, salt from the town was taken to areas like Bcharre to be traded for potatoes.
6. It is the only town on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean to be carved out of rocky mountains
7. Around the 13th century, Anfeh was famous for its wine production
It's no wonder most people here seem to be drunk on happiness.
8. Around 400 inhabitants in the town go fishing daily
The practice is considered to be the livelihood and main source of income for many families in the town.
9. The site has been under threat after a draft proposal to expand an adjacent port
The expanded port would have compromised the town's historical preservation. Although the project was eventually rejected, developmental pressures began arising from nearby communities.