Two years after being designated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, Akram Bader, mayor of Battir seeks to implement tourism projects in his village to contain the growing number of local and foreign tourists who visit it.
Battir, which is known with its grass and its unique irrigation system since thousands of years, has been honored by UNESCO for its success in maintaining its heritage.
Battir embraces seven wells that irrigate lands cultivated with different kinds of grass, in addition to groves of grape, olive, and figs that ornate the hills’ summits near Jerusalem.
Visitors have the opportunity to watch the cold water run beneath the wells that flow in uncovered channels, which respond to the needs of the eight families of Battir.
Mayor Bader said that the village previously hosted 200-300 visitors, but in 2015, after designating the village as a World Heritage site, visitors have reached 100,000.
He added that this has prevented Israel from building a wall that would seize one third of Battir’s land and destroy its international heritage.
Bader noted that families of the village have been benefiting from the projects established in their village in line with the flow of national and foreign tourism in it. The Mayor has called on people to invest in the tourism sector of Battir, which comprises around 7,000 people.
According to Bader, the municipality has launched a promising project to build hospitality houses to receive tourists willing to stay in the village and noted that it has agreed with a number of owners to use their houses for 12 years after rehabilitating them.
Furthermore, an association of 14 women has established a restaurant that serves popular plates for tourists upon request.
The mayor notes that the municipality is using its modest capacities to develop the village’s infrastructure so it can contain the growing flow of visitors in cooperation with some tourism companies and agencies.
Battir’s designation as a World Heritage site attracts many international photographers who come to take pictures of the natural landscapes of the village.