Sidon is Lebanon’s third largest city located about 48 kilometers from the Beirut. The word Sidon means fishery. The city has a population of 200,000 and the people here are mainly Greek Catholic, Maronite, and Muslim Sunni and Shiite.
The city was has a history that dates back to 4000 BC and was an important Phoenician city at the time. Glass manufacturing was the main occupation of the Phoenician era. During the Roman era, a number of monuments and theatres were built. At the time of the Byzantine period a massive earthquake hit the town in 551 AD and the majority of the constructions were destroyed leaving the town in ruins.
The major ruins are:
The Sea Castle
The Sea Castle is a fort built in the 13th century. Located on a small island, it offers a great view of the city. The castle consists of two chambers, among them the west tower which is the best preserved tower.
The Souks (Market)
It is located in the middle of St. Louis Castle and Sea Castle. It extends to the old town and the massive fishing markets are one of the main attractions here.
Khan El Franj
It was built in the 17th century for accommodating goods and merchants. It features a massive courtyard and a central fountain bounded by a number of galleries.
The Great Mosque
The Great Mosque was built in the 13th century and previously it was the Church of St. John.
The Castle of St. Louis
It is situated to the south of Old Souks and it was built in the 13th century on the site of ruined fort.
The Eshmun Temple was constructed in the 7th century and it was devoted to the Phoenician God.
This palace was built in the year 1721 AD in Arab-Ottoman architecture. In the present day, it is a major tourist attraction, and will soon be converted to Sidon’s History Museum.
In the year 2000, the Asian Football Confederation’s Cup was held in Sidon.