The local traditions, the people and the village
The village of Ammiq is set in west Bekaa, one of the most fertile parts of the Bekaa Valley. It sits on the eastern slopes of Mount Lebanon, a few meters above the valley, and is nearby the wetlands that are the pride of the village. The area is also one of the most important in Lebanon for wine production.
The ancient village of Ammiq was destroyed during the 1956 earthquake and still retains the ruins of the centuries-old stone houses abandoned after its inhabitants were forced to move to the new village that is Ammiq today.
Most of the inhabitants of the village work in agriculture, and Ammiq’s municipality is committed to initiating environmentally friendly practices in an area that relies so heavily on intensive agriculture.
Through Tawlet Ammiq, local producers are now able to showcase their traditions, crops and techniques, and Ammiq’s cooks are rediscovering their wonderful old recipes and customs.
The Ammiq Wetland (100 hectares) is the last significant wetland in Lebanon, a remnant of extensive marshes and lakes that once covered parts of the Bekaa Valley. This natural spot remains an important staging and wintering area for migratory water birds en route from Europe to Africa.
The Shouf Biosphere Reserve (SBR) was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2005; within it is the Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve (the largest in Lebanon) and Ammiq Wetland (Ramsar Site).
Tawlet Ammiq is established to support the eco-tourism and rural development objectives of the Biosphere Reserve.
Architecture and the setting
Tawlet Ammiq is housed in one of the greenest buildings in Lebanon. Among its green features are Canadian wells – a unique insulation system – solar chimneys, a green roof, and a solar energy system.
The environmentally friendly building has:
- a high thermal performance building envelope
- naturally assisted cooling
- lighting at minimum cost
- solar water heating
- smoke free and music-free environment
The building uses 80-percent less energy to operate than a conventional construction. All waste (mostly organic) is sorted and recycled.
The interiors are designed by Tawlet team and produced by local artisans and craftsmen. Chairs are modelled on original Rietveld patterns from reused pallet wood, as are the tables and the shelving (pallet) columns. The decorative birds are the creation of Nadine Abou based on the many birds of Ammiq. The distinctive “Ammiq jars” are designed by Alexandra Warde.
The ENVIRONMENTAL FEATURES of the building: