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SIDON


Saida Sidon (Saida) is said to mean "fishing", and even today fishermen moor their boats in the small picturesque port. Sidon was the third great Phoenician city-state, rivaling Byblos and Tyre as a naval power. In Darius' time, towards the end of the 6th century B.C., it was the capital of the fifth Persian satrapy and a showplace of buildings and gardens. The town was conquered by the Crusaders after a famous siege lasting 47 days, then retaken by Saladin 70 years later.

Sidon is only 43 kms. from Beirut. You have to take Khalde Highway South passing through Khalde, Damour, Naame, Saadiat, along the beautiful coast of the Mediterranean sea, to get there.

Sidon is known as the capital of the South. It is surrounded by beautiful orchards of oranges, lemon, banana and loquat trees. The city's northern harbour is graced by Castle of the Sea, erected in the early 13th Century by the crusading Knights of St. John of the Hospital of Jerusalem on an islet at the mouth of the harbour.

The shell of the Castle of St. Louis atop the Phoenician acropolis near Murex Hill, so named after the Murex shell from which the famous Phoenician purple dye was extracted. In the old town more recent buildings worth a visit are Khan as-Sabun, Khan el-Franj and the Great Mosqueabove the Egyptian Harbour which still retains the 13th Century walls of the fortressChurch of the Hospitallers of St. John.


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