Tourist Attractions - Sidon

 

Location:  48 Kilometers from Beirut.
Era: Phoenician, Roman, Crusaders and Islamic.  
Other sites to explore:

  • The Government Red House: A medieval building.

  • Khan El Franj: Built by Fakhreddine II for merchants and goods.

  • The Great Mosque: Dates to the 13th century.

  • Qalaat El Muizz or The Castle of St. Louis: Erected on the emplacement of a Fatimid fortress during the Crusade led by French King Louis IX.


 
Sidon (Saida in Arabic), a famous name in ancient history for a mysterious city. There is evidence that Sidon was inhabited as early as Neolithic times. The city was built  to protect the inhabitants against inland attacks and constantly served as a marine fortress supplying war vessels.   As with other cities, Sidon was taken over by many rulers, among them was Alexander the Great. During the Roman time, several theaters and monuments were built. After the Crusaders, the city was ruled by the Mamlukes.
Unfortunately, Sidon was stripped away from many of its precious monuments that can now be seen in foreign museums. Today, visitors try to recapture the city's ancient glamour from the few scattered monuments.
   
The Sea Castle was built at the beginning of the 13th century by the Crusaders on a small island connected to the mainland. Old prints of the fortress prove that it was one day covered with beautiful decorations but after the fall of Acre to the Mamlukes all the sea castles were destroyed. Two towers and a connecting wall are all what survived of the big fortress.
   
The old town near the Sea Castle is still an active trading center and a hang-out place for the local fishermen.  Traditional coffee houses are scattered serving water-pipes and local tea. An ideal place to capture the untouched customs and traditions while enjoying a tour in the narrow corridors of the old city.