Saida, or Sidon, has a fascinating and unique history. One of the most powerful Phoenician city states, it made a name for itself the world over with its expert glass manufacturing and the invention of purple dye, which has ever since been synonymous with royalty.
As with most ancient city-states in the region, Saida has seen quite a number of conquests in its time, as evidenced today by its Roman ruins and the Crusader castle that overlooks the harbor, among many other historic buildings. Later came the Mamluks and the Ottomans, of course, and finally in the 17th century the unprecedented Fakhreddine II, who seems to have left his trace all over Lebanon and beyond, but made Saida his home and the seat of his government.
Saida has been inhabited since at least 4,000 BC, and Homer wrote about it in the 8th century BC, noting how skilled was the glass production there.
The city is positively stuffed with things to do, see and eat, from the excellent souk with its famous soap factory to its equally famous bakeries and confectioners.