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Sidon is the third-largest city in Lebanon.It is located in the South Governorate of Lebanon, on the Mediterranean coast, about 40 km (25 mi) north of Tyre and 40 km (25 mi) south of the capital Beirut. In Genesis, Sidon is the son of Canaan the son of Noah.Its name coincides with the modern Arabic word for fishery.Sidon is a city of 200,000 inhabitants who are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslims and it is considered a Sunni stronghold.Small communities of Christian Greek Catholics and Maronites and Shiite Muslims are also found in the city.

In the years before Jesus, Sidon had many conquerors: Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, and finally Romans.Herod the Great visited Sidon.Both Jesus and Saint Paul are said to have visited it too.The city was eventually conquered by the Arabs and then by the Ottoman Turks.Like other Phoenician city-states, Sidon suffered from a succession of conquerors.At the end of the Persian era in 351 BC, it was invaded by the emperor Artaxerxes III and then by Alexander the Great in 333 BC when the Hellenistic era of Sidon began.Under the successors of Alexander, it enjoyed relative autonomy and organized games and competitions in which the greatest athletes of the region participated.In the Necropolis of Sidon, important finds such as the Alexander Sarcophagus, the Lycian tomb and the Sarcophagus of the Crying Women were discovered, which are now on display at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum in Istanbul.

Although Sidon in 1900 was a small fishing town of 10,000 inhabitants, studies in 2000 showed a population of 65,000 in the city and around 200,000 in the metropolitan area.The little level land around the city is used for cultivation of some wheat, vegetables and fruits, especially citrus and bananas.The fishing in the city remains active with a newly opened fishery that sells fresh fish by bidding every morning.The ancient basin is transformed into a fishing port while a small quay was constructed to receive small commercial vessels.Saida International Stadium was inaugurated in 2000 for the Asian Football Confederation's Cup 2000.

Near the southern entrance to the city lies a 'rubbish mountain' called the Makab, a 600,000 cubic meter heap that reaches the height of a four-storey building.Originally created to dispose of the remains of buildings destroyed in Israeli air strikes during the 1982 invasion, it is now the main dump for the city.Growing out of the sea, it has become an environmental hazard, with medical waste and plastic bags polluting nearby fishing grounds.The Ministry of Environment has recently, however, come up a $50,000+ plan to clean the whole area and transform the soon to become "former dump" into a green space, along with other heap's in the country.Qamla beach in Sidon, a coast in close proximity to the Sea Castle, witnessed a large municipal clean up in May 2011 as it was an easy target of rubbish being washed up by the Makab.These plans will revive the city's coasts' former glory and attract tourists who avoided swimming in Sidon's sea before.

How to Reach

By Air

The closest airport for Sidon is the Rafic Hariri International Airport and is located in the southern suburbs.Turkish Airlines operates daily 3 flights between Istanbul and Beirut and Vice Versa.

By Taxi

Getting around in Sidon as in all Lebanon is best by taking a taxi.Cabs provide two services 1.A Taxi ride with a fare charge of 5000 L.L. around 3.25 USD and 2.Service is the word you use to permit other passengers to board and then the charge is 2000 L.L. around 1.25 USD.

Key places to visit
Sidon Sea Castle, Sidon Soap Museum, Eshmun Temple, Our Lady of Mantara


Places to Visit

Sidon Sea Castle

Is a castle in Sidon, Lebanon.It was built by the Crusaders in 1228 on a small island connected to the mainland by a causeway.A climb to the top leads to the roof where there is a good view of the port and the old part of the city.Today the castle consists primarily of two towers connected by a wall. In the outer walls Roman columns were used as horizontal reinforcements, a feature often seen in fortifications built on or near former Roman sites.The west tower is the better preserved of the two. Old prints of the fortress show it to be one of great beauty, but little remains of the embellishments that once decorated its ramparts.After the fall of Acre to the Mamluks in 1291, all the sea castles were destroyed to prevent the Crusaders from re-establishing footholds on the coast.

Sidon Soap Museum

Is a museum in Sidon, Lebanon.It traces the history of soap making in the region, its development and manufacturing techniques.Visitors can see a demonstration of how traditional olive oil soaps are made and learn about the history of the "hammam" (bath) traditions.A historical section of the museum introduces artifacts which were found during onsite excavation and which include remains of clay pipe heads dating from the 17th to 19th century as well as pottery fragments.The Museum building is an old soap factory built in the 17th century, although containing parts thought to date back to the 13th century, and was restored by the Audi Foundation before officially opening to the public in November 2000.

Eshmun Temple

Is an ancient place of worship dedicated to Eshmun, the Phoenician god of healing.It is located near the Awali river, 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) northeast of Sidon in southwestern Lebanon.The site was occupied from the 7th century BC to the 8th century AD, suggesting an integrated relationship with the nearby city of Sidon.Although originally constructed by Sidonian king Eshmunazar II in the Achaemenid era (c. 529–333 BC) to celebrate the city's recovered wealth and stature, the temple complex was greatly expanded by Bodashtart, Yatan-milk and later monarchs.Because the continued expansion spanned many centuries of alternating independence and foreign hegemony, the sanctuary features a wealth of different architectural and decorative styles and influences.

Our Lady of Mantara

Also known in English as Our Lady of Awaiting, is a holy Christian site and a Marian shrine in the village of Maghdouche in Lebanon.The shrine consists of a tower crowned with the statue of the Virgin and Child, a cathedral, a cemetery and a sacred cave believed to be the one where the Virgin Mary rested while she waited for Jesus.Many historians agree that the devotion to the Virgin Mary in Lebanon replaced the Phoenician worship of Astarte.Temples and shrines to Astarte were converted to Christian places of worship, honoring the Virgin.This is also true in Magdhdouche where within the vicinity of Our Lady of Mantara are the remains of a shrine to Astarte.

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