saida3_1.jpg citiesvillages143.jpg

Saida (Sidon)

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. 

Ayyoubid Dynasty Mamluk Period Phoenician Period Greek Period Roman Period Crusader Period Umayyad Period Byzantine Period Ottoman Period Emirate Period French Mandate Saida (Sidon) District South Lebanon Spring Summer Autumn Winter

Things to do

Hammam el-Sheikh and Hammam al-Ward

Saida's public baths, reminiscent of Roman thermal baths, were used for hygiene and served for pleasure and as a social place. If you feel like...

Saint Nicholas Cathedral

Built in the 15th century (the cathedral of the Byzantine Antiochian archbishopric in Saida) the dome is the biggest in the city and its altar dates...

Qotaish Mosque

This mosque combines several Islamic architectural trends. Located about 100 meters to the south of Al-Qikhya mosque, it was built by Sheikh Ali...

Murex Hill

Murex Hill is an artificial hill about 100m high and 50m long, partially covered by a cemetery. This is Sidon's ancient garbage dump, largely formed...

Khan el-Franj

Just down the street from the souks of Saida, on the corniche, Khan el Franj (“Caravanserai of the French”), was built by Emir Fakhreddine in the...

Church of Saint Elias

The Maronite community built this church in 1610 on a piece of land donated by Jalal Eddine family. Today, it is used for other purposes. Its bell is...

Bahaa Eddine al-Hariri Mosque

Bahaa Eddine al-Hariri mosque is an imposing structure on the north side Saida and is clearly visible from the coastal road into the city. Of a...

Bab al-Saray Mosque

One of the oldest standing mosques in Saida, its construction dates from the period when Europeans occupied the city in 1201. Its minaret rises 20...