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Tyre

Country
Lebanon
State
Mohafazat Liban-Sud
City
Tyre
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

Tyre is a city in the South Governorate of Lebanon.There were approximately 117,000 inhabitants in 2003,however, the government of Lebanon has released only rough estimates of population numbers since 1932,so an accurate statistical accounting is not possible.Tyre juts out from the coast of the Mediterranean and is located about 80 km (50 mi) south of Beirut.The name of the city means "rock" after the rocky formation on which the town was originally built.The adjective for Tyre is Tyrian, and the inhabitants are Tyrians.

Tyre is an ancient Phoenician city and the legendary birthplace of Europa and Elissa (Dido).Today it is the fourth largest city in Lebanon and houses one of the nation's major ports.Tourism is a major industry.The city has a number of ancient sites,including its Roman Hippodrome which was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1979.

Tyre originally consisted of two distinct urban centers,Tyre itself, which was on an island just off shore, and the associated settlement of Ushu on the adjacent mainland.Alexander the Great connected the island to the mainland coast by constructing a causeway during his siege of the city,demolishing the old city to reuse its cut stone.The original island city had two harbors,one on the south side and the other on the north side of the island.It was these two harbors that enabled Tyre to gain the maritime prominence that it did; the harbor on the north side of the island was, in fact, one of the best harbors on the eastern end of the Mediterranean.The harbor on the south side has silted over, but the harbor on the north side (see Tyre harbor photo to the right) is still in use.

Tyre was founded around 2750 BC according to Herodotus and it appears on monuments as early as 1300 BC.Philo of Byblos (in Eusebius) quotes the antiquarian authority Sanchuniathon as stating that it was first occupied by one Hypsuranius.Sanchuniathon's work is said to be dedicated to "Abibalus king of Berytus" possibly the Abibaal who was king of Tyre.There are ten Amarna letters dated 1350 BC from the mayor, Abi-Milku, written to Akenaten.The subject is often water, wood, and the Habiru overtaking the countryside, of the mainland, and how it affected the island-city.



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How to Reach

By Air

The nearest airport is Beirut Rafik Hariri International Airport (IATA: BEY),The airport is located 7km south of Beirut, and is roughly a 10 to 15 minute drive from the city center.

By Bus

The cheapest way of getting into Tyre is by private bus. Large,air-conditioned buses go from Cola Junction, Beirut, throughout the day for approximately $4 and take about 2.5hrs.

By Private Taxi

There are two ways to get to Tyre via taxi the first is a simple private hire ($20-30 from Beirut),or the 'service' option where you can share with other people who are travelling in a similar direction ($10 would be reasonable from Beirut to Tyre).The journey will take approximately 2.5hrs from Beirut, depending on any stops that have to be made.

Key places to visit
Al Zaatari Mosque, Qana El Jalil, Al Bass Archaeological Site, Tyre Coastal Nature Reserve, Tomb of Qabr Hiram, Qlayle


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Places to Visit

Al Zaatari Mosque

Overlooking the sea, this mosque was built in the 1960s.It is an example of modern Islamic architecture.Note: According to Islamic tradition, non-Muslims are typically not allowed to enter mosques or sacred sites.However, non-Muslim visitors may be able to visit the courtyard gardens and may find someone they can ask for permission to enter.Visitors should be appropriately attired and remove their shoes before entering.Entry is not permitted during prayer hours and not permitted at any time during the month of Ramadan.

Qana El Jalil

This is the village where Christ is reported to have turned water into wine at a wedding party.A cave and carvings on the rocks near the cave are evidence suggesting that the event took place here, although it is a matter of scholarly debate.The Ministry of Tourism recently refurbished the site.

Al Bass Archaeological Site

Is by far the most famous attraction, boasting the largest and best-preserved example of a Roman Hippodrome. The impressive site is huge and also encapsulates a large Necropolis (with several hundred well-preserved sarcophagi), an intact Roman road and aqueduct, and a monumental arch. Situated next to the Al Bass Palestinian Refugee Camp, it is a 10min car ride from the beach.

Tyre Coastal Nature Reserve

Established in 1998, the 380-hectare Tyre Coastal Nature Reserve encompasses a variety of terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and one of the most beautiful and scenic sandy beaches in Lebanon.The pools of Ras el-Ain,used since Phoenician time,create small areas of marshland that serve as a freshwater habitat.A great variety of birds can be found in the reserve, and its sandy beaches are an important nesting site for endangered sea turtles.Hiking along the sea shore is possible.

Tomb of Qabr Hiram

King Hiram ruled the city of Tyre for 34 years beginning in 969 BC.He is credited with fostering Tyre’s development as a major center of commerce and trade.King Hiram established relations with King Solomon of Israel,and their friendly rivalry was famous,especially their exchange of riddles for the other to solve.King Hiram is said to be buried in a 6m high limestone tomb with a pyramid shaped top.The site of the tomb is located near the village of Qana.

Qlayle

This village, located approximately 10km south of Tyre,is known for possessing what local tradition says is the mausoleum of the prophet Umran.He is otherwise known as Joachim,the father of the Virgin Mary.

Right Time to Visit

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