Sidon: Wikis


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Coordinates: 33°33′38″N 35°23′53″E / 33.56056°N 35.39806°E / 33.56056; 35.39806

صيدا Ṣaydā
View of the new city from the Sea Castle. Part of the Sea Castle in front.
Sidon is located in Lebanon
Location in Lebanon
Coordinates: 33°33′38″N 35°23′53″E / 33.56056°N 35.39806°E / 33.56056; 35.39806
Country  Lebanon
Governorate South Governorate
District Sidon District
 - City 3.03396 sq mi (7.86 km2)
 Density 22,970/sq mi (8,767/km2)
 Metro 200,000
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) +3 (UTC)

Sidon,or Saïda, (Arabic: صيدا, Ṣaydā; Phoenician: צדן, Ṣydwn; Greek: Σιδών; Latin: Sidon; Hebrew: צידון, Ṣīḏōn, Turkish: Sayda) 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. Its name means a fishery. It is a city of 200,000 inhabitants mainly of the Muslim Sunni, Shiite, and Christian Greek Catholic and Maronite.



Persian style bull protome found in Saida gives testimony of the Aecheminid rule and influence. Marble, 5th century B.C.

Sidon has been inhabited since 4000 BC and perhaps as early as Neolithic times (6000 - 4000 B.C.). It was one of the most important Phoenician cities, and may have been the oldest. From here, and other ports, a great Mediterranean commercial empire was founded. Homer praised the skill of its craftsmen in producing glass and purple dyes. It was also from here that a colonizing party went to found the city of Tyre. Tyre also grew into a great city, and in subsequent years there was competition between the two, each claiming to be the metropolis ('Mother City') of Phoenicia. Glass manufacturing, Sidon's most important enterprise in the Phoenician era, was conducted on a vast scale, and the production of purple dye was almost as important. The small shell of the Murex trunculus was broken in order to extract the pigment that was so rare it became the mark of royalty.

In 1855 AD, the sarcophagus of King Eshmun’azar II was discovered. From a Phoenician inscription on its lid, it appears that he was a "king of the Sidonians," probably in the 5th century BC, and that his mother was a priestess of ‘Ashtart, "the goddess of the Sidonians." In this inscription the gods Eshmun and Ba‘al Sidon 'Lord of Sidon' (who may or may not be the same) are mentioned as chief gods of the Sidonians. ‘Ashtart is entitled ‘Ashtart-Shem-Ba‘al '‘Ashtart the name of the Lord', a title also found in an Ugaritic text.

Sidon Sea Castle, built by the Crusaders in 1228 A.D.

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 (see Biblical Sidon below). 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 freedom 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.[1]

When Sidon fell under Roman domination, it continued to mint its own silver coins. The Romans also built a theater and other major monuments in the city. In the reign of Elagabalus a Roman colonia was established there, and it was given the name of Colonia Aurelia Pia Sidon. During the Byzantine period, when the great earthquake of 551 AD destroyed most of the cities of Phoenicia, Beirut's School of Law took refuge in Sidon. The town continued quietly for the next century, until it was conquered by the Arabs in 636 AD.

Sidon with a view of the Mediterranean coast

On December 4, 1110 Sidon was sacked in the First Crusade by King Baldwin of Jerusalem and King Sigurd of Norway. It then became the centre of the Lordship of Sidon, an important seigneury in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. During the Crusades it was sacked several times: it was finally destroyed by the Saracens in 1249. In 1260 it was again destroyed by the Mongols. The remains of the original walls are still visible.

After Sidon came under Ottoman Turkish rule in the seventeenth century, it regained a great deal of its earlier commercial importance. After World War I it became part of the French Mandate of Lebanon. During World War II the city, together with the rest of Lebanon, was captured by British forces fighting against the Vichy French, and following the war it became a major city of independent Lebanon.

Following the Palestinian exodus in 1948, a considerable number of Palestinian refugees arrived in Sidon, as in other Lebanese cities, and were settled at the large refugee camps of Ein el-Hilweh and Mieh Mieh. At first these consisted of enormous rows of tents, but gradually houses were constructed. The refugee camps constituted de-facto neighborhoods of Sidon, but had a separate legal and political status which made them into a kind of enclaves. At the same time, the remaining Jews of the city fled, and the Jewish cemetery fell into disrepair, threatened by coastal erosion.

Sidon today

Although Saida 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.

Panorama of Sidon as seen from the top of the Sea Castle, 2009
Panorama of Sidon as seen from the top of the Sea Castle, 2009

A state-of-the-art stadium was inaugurated in 2000 for the Asian Football Confederation's Cup 2000.


The Makab

Near the southern entrace 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 airstrikes 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.[2][3][4][5]

Old City

Alleyway inside the Old City of Saida

The historical core of Saida is a Mamluk-era old city that extends between the Sea Castle and the St. Louis Castle. Located on a promontory jutting into the sea, this walled medieval city is very well-preserved and is still inhabited today. The old City resembles a vaulted maze with narrow alleyways and winding streets. Arched pathways connect the different neighborhoods of the city. On street level, numerous souvenir shops and mini-markets could be found with old-

Carpenter's Alley inside the Old City

fashioned bakeries making crunchy whole-wheat bread, called "Kaak". A lot of the alleys take the name of their residents' occupations like the "Carpenters' Alley" and the "Tailors' Alley". Several mosques dating back to the Umayyad Era are still preserved and are open to the public. A number of TV series and Music Videos have been filmed inside the Old city of Saida. Being of great historical and architectural significance, the Old City went through a lot of renovations and there is still of restoring to be done.

Administrative Divisions

The city of Saida is administrated by the Municipality of Saida. The municipality is constituted of a council of 21 members including the City Mayor and his Deputy. It has administrative and financial independence but remains under the control and supervision of the central government, specifically the Ministry of Interior. The municipality's jurisdiction is limited to a region of 786 hectares in area and 5 meters in elevation, while each of the city's suburbs is administrated by its own independent municipal council. Saida is the center of the Governorate of South Lebanon, and hosts the seat of the Governor of Southern Lebanon. The city is also the center of the Saida District and the Union of Saida and Zahrani Municipalities (founded in 1978 and contains 15 municipalities). Saida hosts the southern regional headquarters of a series of governmental facilities like the Central Bank of Lebanon, Electricite du Liban, Central Telecommunications Station...etc. It is also the home of the Justice Palace of South Lebanon in its new headquarters on East Boulevard (the old headquarters were an old Ottoman serial that is currently occupied by the LSF and is planned to be transformed into a cultural center by the municipality).

In the 2000 and 2005 parliamentary elections, the Saida District along with the Tyre and Bint Jbeil districts formed the first electoral district of South Lebanon. However, in the 2009 elections -and due to the reactivation of the 1960 electoral law- the city of saida was separated from its district to form a separate electoral district.

Religion and Demographics

Saida is a pretty much conservative city due to its vast Sunni Muslim majority. Sunnis make up approximately (80%) of the local population; Shiites and Christians combined make up (20%). Saida is the seat of the Greek Melkite Catholic Archbishop of Saida and Der El-Qamar, and has housed a significant Catholic population throughout its history. Saida also hosts the seats of the Sunni and the Shiite Muftis of South Lebanon. The 2000 parliamentary elections in saida revealed that saida contains 44274 voters, 36163 of which are registered as Sunni Muslims.

Maronite Cathedral of St. Elias in Saida
Religion Voters Percent (%) Religion Voters Percent (%)
Sunni 36163 79,7 Latin 82 0.2
Shite 4888 10.8 Armenian Catholic 38 0.1
Druze 43 0.1 Chaledean 19 0.0
Alawite 2 0.0 Syriac Orthodox 18 0.0
Greek Melkite Catholic 1686 3.7 Syriac Catholic 17 0.0
Maronite 1513 3.3 Assyrian 4 0.0
Greek Orthodox 310 0.7 Copt 1 0.0
Armenian Orthodox 256 0.6 Other Christians 19 0.0
Avengelicals 171 0.4 Unspecified 161 0.4

Historical Sites and Ruins

Alleyway inside the Old Souks of Saida
The Castle of St. Louis
Inside Khan El Franj
Soap on display inside Sidon Soap Museum
  • Sidon Sea Castle

Sidon Sea Castle is a fortress built by the Crusaders in the early 13th century. It is located near the Port of Sidon.

  • Sidon Soap Museum

The Sidon Soap Museum traces the history of the soap making in the region and its different manufacturing steps.

  • Khan el Franj

Khan el Franj, which means “Caravanserai of the French”, was built by Emir Fakhreddine in the 17th century to accommodate French merchants and goods in order to develop trade with Europe. This is a typical khan with a large rectangular courtyard and a central fountain surrounded by covered galleries.

  • Debbane Palace

Debbane Palace is a historical residence built in 1721 AD and is open for the public for visitors to witness the Arab-Ottoman architecture and details of that era (18th Century). It is currently in the process of being transformed into the History Museum of Sidon.[6]

  • Old Souks

Between the Sea Castle and the Castle of St. Louis stretches the old town and a picturesque vaulted old market

  • The Castle of St. Louis or Qalaat Al Muizz

The Castle of St. Louis was built by the Crusaders in the 13th century on top of the remains of a fortress built by the Fatimid caliph Al Muizz. It is located to the south of old souks near Murex hill.

The temple of Eshmun, the Phoenician God of healing, was built in the 7th century BC and is located in the north of Sidon near the Awali river.

Tourist Attractions and Landmarks

The Ziri Island
  • The Ziri

The Ziri is a tiny rocky island located 1.5 km (0.93 mi) off the coastline of Saida. In ancient times, it was used as a breakwater for the protection of ships and fleets. The island is a preferred destination for the locals who come here for picnics and swimming. The island is accessed by several ferry boats from the port of Saida.

  • The Shrine of our Lady of Mantara

Our Lady of Mantara, or Our Lady of Awaiting, is a Christian shrine dedicated for the worship of the Virgin Mary. It is located on a 400 meter high green hill overlooking Saida. The shrine is built on a small cave where it is the believed that the Virgin Mary stayed and prayed while Jesus went preaching in Sidon. The shrine is composed of a Marian tower -with a Bronze statue of Mary on top- and a Large Catholic Basilica, the 3rd largest church in the Middle East.

  • The Corniche
    Saida's Seaside Corniche

The Corniche is a seaside promenade that extends for about 7 km (4.35 mi) along the city's coast. The Corniche is a popular destination for walkers, joggers, skaters and bikers. Push cart vendors offer an array of local snacks and drinks. The Corniche with its sleek-looking aluminum railing, pink stone tiles and fresh palm alignment offers amazing views of the Mediterranean Sea.

  • The Largest Lebanese Flag

On Lebanon's 66th Independence Day, Saida wintnessed the erection of the largest Lebanese flag. The flag is 12 meters long and 6 meters wide, and was erected on a 21 meter high pole. The flag was raised on the intersection of Rafik Hariri Boulevard and Riyad Solh Street, and is easily accessible from the Corniche. The flag was painted by 66 students from Saida.

  • The Bahaa El-Dine Mosque

Financed by Rafik Hariri and named after his father, the mosque is a 21st-century take on Istanbul's Ottoman Mosques. Located on a roundabout on the city's northern entrance, the mosque is an architectural gem that dots the city's skyline. The mosque with its authentic Arabesque designs, interior Islamic inscriptions, inner courtyards, Mecca-styled minarets and awe-inspiring 36-meter-high dome is a non-miss landmark in the city.

Shopping and Entertainment

Clothing stores in Saida's city center
Les Amis and Pierre Cardin stores on Saida's East Boulevard
Le Mall, one of the two malls in the city

Saida contains several shopping venues boasting local and international brands, as well as a handful of food and beverage outlets. Traditional Coffeeshops serving Turkish coffee and the fruit-flavored Hubble Bubble occupy the seafront of the Old City while modern restaurants, especially those that serve Lebanese and Italian cuisine, are centered in the new city. From McDonald's and KFC to Starbucks, Burger King and Pizza Hut, several western chains have opened at least one branch in the city, with more opening in the near future. Traditional Oriental sweets are Saida's speciality with regionally-renowned sweetshops found all over the city.

Shopping is concentrated within two areas: East Boulevard, and the city center. From the high-end designer stores of Pierre Cardin and Christian Dior to stores directed to low and middle-income consumers, clothing stores in Saida cater to all tastes and needs. Several other international clothing brands could be found in the city like Jack & Jones, Vero Moda, Springfield, Timberland, Zara, Mango, Pull and Bear, Mothercare, Bossini, H&M, Benetton, GS...etc. Some of these stores could be found in the 2 malls in the city, Saida Mall (24,000 sq meters) and Le Mall (12,000 sq meters), aside to kids entertainment facilities, cafes and restaurants. Grand Cinemas will inaugurate its latest multiplex in a couple of months on East Boulevard.

Saida also has a large Amusement Park near its southern entrance.


Saida is South Lebanon's center for medicine, treatment and therapy. According to 2006 numbers, Saida contains approximately 1000 beds distributed among 9 hospitals. There is only one public hospital in the city while the rest are all private. The city also contains over a 100 medical clinics. Some of the medical institutions in the city are the among the most prominent in Lebanon. The first Heart-Transpant Operation ever to be performed in Lebanon was in the Hammoud Hospital in Saida in 1999.

Hospital Type Email
Labib Hospital Private N/A
Saida Governmental Hospital Public N/A
Al Janoub hospital Private N/A
Alaeddine hospital Private
South Health Complex Private
Dallaa hospital Private
Al Nakib hospital Private N/A
Hammoud hospital Private
Jebeili hospital Private N/A


Saida is home to numerous educational facilities ranging from public elementary schools to private universities. According to a 2006 study, Saida contains 29 schools that serve a total of 18,731 students: 37% are in public schools, 63% are in private schools. Saida also contains 10 universities, 5 of which are private universities.

University Faculty Type
Lebanese University (LU) Faculty of Law, Political Science and Public Administration Public
University of Saint Joseph (USJ) N/A Private
American University of Lebanon (AUL) N/A Private
Al-Jinan University N/A Private
Lebanese University (LU) Faculty of Public Health Public
Lebanese University (LU) Faculty of Literature and human Science Public
Lebanese University (LU) Institute of Social Sciences Public
American University of Sceince and Technology N/A Private
Lebanese American University N/A Private
Lebanese University (LU) Institute of Technology Public

The Beirut Arab University declared recently that its future Saida Campus will host its Faculty of Medicine.

Festivals and Celebrations

  • Nights of the Khan

The "Nights of the Khan" festival is a series of concerts and performances held in the Khan El-Franj in the Old City of Sidon. The festival takes place during the holy month of Ramadan. It is organized by the International Saida Festivals Committee and the Hariri Foundation. The Festival hosts a wide array of artists and performers; it features Sufi art, poetry recitals, religious song medleys, Folkloric Lebanese and Palestinian dance groups. The festival was frequently attended by the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Tourism Minister, Education Minister, Culture Minister aside to numerous social, political and religious Lebanese figures.

  • Wedding of the City

The "Wedding of the City" is a street carnival held in Saida in the El-Fitr Muslim Holiday. The carnival runs for three consecutive days and is organized by the International Saida Festivals Committee and the Hariri Foundation. The Carnival takes place on a 300-meter-long section of the Coastal Highway -extending between the Sidon Sea Castle and the Port- that gets closed and transformed into a Pedestrian-only zone. Last summer, the carnival attracted more than 30,000 spectators on its 3rd day. The carnival features European and Local Acrobats, giant floating balloons, exotic dancers, a light and sound show...etc.

  • Independence Day Celebrations

Saida played a significant role in Lebanon's quest for Independence in the early 1940s whether through its nationalist politicians or through its citizens' protests and demonstrations demanding Independence. Hence, On the 22nd of November of every year, Saida celebrates Lebanon's Independence through a series of festivities that involve: a Military Parade in the Barracks of the Lebanese Army, an honorary reception in the city's serial held by the Governor, and a tribute to Saida's independence figure Adel Osseiran. 2009's Independence day celebrations featured an extra festivity which is the erection of the largest Lebanese flag, on the city's northern entrance.

Oil and Petroleum

Saida serves as the Mediterranean terminus of the Trans-Arabian Pipeline, a 1,720 km (1,068.76 mi) long oil pipeline that pumps oil from the fields near Abqaiq in Saudi Arabia. The pipeline played an important role in the global trade of petroleum—helping with the economic development of Lebanon—as well as American and Middle Eastern political relations. At the time it was built in 1947, the project was considered ground-breaking and innovative with a maximum capacity of about 500,000 barrels/day. After the 1967 Six-Day War and due to constant bickering between Saudi Arabia and Syria and Lebanon over transit fees, the emergence of oil supertankers, and pipeline breakdowns, the section of the line beyond Jordan ceased operation in 1976. The city is the site of a large-scale oil facility constituting oil-storage tanks, an oil refinery, a thermal power plant and a fuel port. During the Lebanese civil war and the Israeli invasions, the site was bombarded several times either by Israeli war-planes or by Palestinian militia groups which lead eventually to the closure of the site. The oil tank and the refinery are in severe conditions and are awaiting a massive rehabilitation plan. The only facilities that still work on the site are the thermal power plant and the fuel port, which the state began to use to import oil for the plant after the pipeline ceased work in the 70's.


The Sectarian division in Saida is brutally evident. Although the locals have found some sort of understanding to settle together and coexist, the division managed to rise to the surface on several occasions. Saida city is largely occupied by Sunni Muslims, while Christians dwell in the densely populated suburbs, forming an urban belt that encircles the city. Shiite Muslims live in a large hilly terrian that extends south of the city.

This sectarian and demographic division rose to the surface during the Lebanese Civil War when armed clashes erupted between the pro-Palestinian Sunni Muslims and the anti-Palestinian Christians. The clashes ended with the surrender of the Christian front, and the Christians were forced to move to east Beirut. After the war ended in 1990, the Christians have gradually returned to their hometowns.

  • 2008 Conflict in Lebanon

After the Hariri assassination in 2005, Lebanon was divided between two large coalitions: 14 March Coalition (anti-Syrian) & 8 March Coalition (pro-Syrian). Saida, being the hometown of Rafik Hariri, supported the anti-Syrian bloc while the rest of the largely-Shiite Zahrani region lined with Hezbollah. This sharp division led to severe clashes on 7 May 2008 in Beirut between the Sunnis and the Shiites, with minor altercations extending to Saida.

  • 2009 Parliamentary Elections

In the 2009 parliamentary elections, Saida city was declared a separate electoral district in accordance with the 1960 electoral law. 2 Sunni Muslim seats were designated for the representation of the city in the Parliament. The battle was between 2 lists: the first included former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Minister Bahia Hariri, the second list contained only one candidate Osama Saad, sone of prominent political family and Hariri's rival. After a tough battle between the 2 lists, the Pro-Hariri duo swept the city with 24,000 votes.

The Biblical Sidon

Shrine commemorating the last meeting place between St. Paul and St. Peter inside the Old City of Saida

The Bible describes Sidon at various places:

  • It received its name from the "first-born" of Canaan, the grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:15, 19).
  • The Tribe of Zebulun has a frontier on Sidon. (Gen. 49:13)
  • It was the first home of the Phoenicians on the coast of Canaan, and from its extensive commercial relations became a "great" city. (Joshua 11:8; 19:28).
  • It was the mother city of Tyre. It lay within the lot of the tribe of Asher, but was never subdued (Judges 1:31).
  • The Sidonians long oppressed Israel (Judges 10:12).
  • From the time of David its glory began to wane, and Tyre, its "virgin daughter" (Isaiah 23:12), rose to its place of pre-eminence.
  • Solomon entered into a matrimonial alliance with the Sidonians, and thus their form of idolatrous worship found a place in the land of Israel (1 Kings 11:1, 33).
  • Jezebel was a Sidonian princess (1 Kings 16:31).
  • It was famous for its manufactures and arts, as well as for its commerce (1 Kings 5:6; 1 Chronicles 22:4; Ezekiel 27:8).
  • It is frequently referred to by the prophets (Isaiah 23:2, 4, 12; Jeremiah 25:22; 27:3; 47:4; Ezekiel 27:8; 28:21, 22; 32:30; Joel 3:4).
  • Elijah sojourned in Sidon, performing miracles (1 Kings 17:9-24; Luke 4:26).
  • Jesus visited the "coasts" of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15:21; Mark 7:24) and from this region many came forth to hear him preaching (Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17), leading to the stark contrast in Matthew 11:21-23 to Korazin and Bethsaida.
  • From Sidon, at which the ship put in after leaving Caesarea, Paul finally sailed for Rome (Acts 27:3, 4).


  • The account ascribed to the Phoenician historian Sanchuniathon makes Sidon a daughter of Pontus, son of Nereus. She is said there to have first invented musical song from the sweetness of her voice.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Sidon is twinned with:

Notable people

Dorotheus (1st century BC) Greek astrologer.

Zeno of Sidon, an Epicurean philosopher of the 1st century BC, who was born in the city of Sidon in Phoenicia.

The Cananite woman of Sidon a lady from Lebanon, and a persuasive phoenician, (Matthew 15:21; Mark 7:24) who met the Son of god and got him to heal her daughter.

Fouad Siniora, former Prime Minister of Lebanon.

Europa, a maiden whom the Greek god Zeus supposedly abducted disguised as a white bull, was a princess of Sidon.

Adel Osseiran, co-founder of modern Lebanon.

Rafic Hariri, former Prime Minister and late leader of the Future Movement.

Sheikh Mohamad Osseiran, Jaafari Mufti of Sidon.

Riad Solh, former Prime Minister of Lebanon who also participated in Lebanon's independence from the French.

Takkie El Dine Solh, former Prime Minister, died in Paris.

Sami Solh, former Prime Minister of Lebanon.

Rashid Solh, former Prime Minister of Lebanon.

Raymond Audi, former Minister of Refugees, Siniora former government of Lebanon.

Bechara Nammour, International Businessman and Entrepreneur.

Bahia Hariri, former Minister of Education in the Siniora government of Lebanon. Bahia Hariri is the only sister of the late Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. Presently, Bahia Hariri is a member of the Lebanese Parliament as she was re-elected in June 2009.

Saad Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon.

Maarouf Saad, former deputy representing Saida in the national parliament and founder of the Popular Nasserite Party. He was assassinated in 1976 in an event that pushed the nation nearer into civil war.

Ali Yasin, International Businessman and Entrepreneur.

Moustapha Saad, son of Maarouf Saad and former deputy representing Saida in the national parliament. Moustapha Saad was a target of an attempted assassination in 1986 in which his daughter Natasha was killed and he lost his eye sight. His wife was also seriously injured in the explosion that ripped through their home in Saida. He was a political figure respected by both Christians and Muslims of Saida and its surroundings.

Ousama Saad Son of Maarouf Saad and current deputy representing Saida in the national parliament.


Riad Solh Co-Founder of Lebanon and Prime Minister. Known to be on of the founding fathers of Lebanon, Riad Solh is considered by many as the one of he leading political figures not only in Lebanon but also in Middle East.


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Sidon (Arabic: Saida صَيْدا) is in a city in Lebanon. The people (population: 100,000) are largely Sunni Muslims.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SIDON (Phoen. l?s, Hebrew li'Y, Assyr. Sidunnu, Egypt. Diduna), formerly the principal city of Phoenicia, now a small town of about 15,000 inhabitants, situated on the Syrian coast between Beirut and Stir (Tyre). The name, which the Arabs now pronounce Saida, has been explained as meaning "fishtown" (cf. Hebr. ins "to hunt," in Phoen. perhaps "to fish"); more likely it is connected with the god Sid, who is known only as an element in proper names (see Cooke, North-Sem. Inscrr. p. 91); possibly both town and people were named after him. The ancient city extended some Boo yds. inland from the shore over ground which is now covered by fruit-gardens. From a series of inscriptions, all giving the same text, discovered at Bostan esh-Shekh, a little way to the N. of Saida, we learn that the ancient city was divided into three divisions at least, one of which was called "Sidon by the sea," and another "Sidon on the plain" (?) (see N.-Sem. Inscrr. App. i.). In front of the flat promontory to which the modern Sidon is confined there stretches northwards and southwards a rocky peninsula; at the northern extremity of this begins a series of small rocks enclosing the harbour, which is a very bad one. The port was formerly protected on the north by the Qal`at el-Bahr ("Sea Castle"), a building of the 13th century, situated on an island still connected with the mainland by a bridge. On the S. side of the town lay the so-called Egyptian harbour, which was filled up in the 17th century in order to keep out the Turks. The wall by which Sidon is at present surrounded is pierced by two gates; at the southern angle, upon a heap of rubbish, stand the remains of the citadel. The streets are very narrow, and the buildings of any interest few; most prominent are some large caravanserais belonging to the period of Sidon's modern prosperity, and the large mosque, formerly a church of the knights of St John. The inhabitants support themselves mainly on the produce of their luxuriant gardens; but the increasing trade of Beira has withdrawn the bulk of the commerce from Sidon. In earlier days Phoenicia produced excellent wine, that of Sidon being specially esteemed; it is mentioned in an Aramaic papyrus from Egypt (4th century B.C., N.S.I. p. 213). One of the chief industries of Sidon used to be the manufacture of glass from the fine sand of the river Belus. To the S.E. of the town lies the Phoenician necropolis, which has been to a great extent investigated. The principal finds are sarcophagi, and next to these sculptures and paintings. It was here that the superb Greek sarcophagi, which are now in the Imperial Museum at Constantinople, were found, and the sarcophagi of the two Sidonian kings Eshmunazar (Louvre) and Tabnith (Imperial Museum, Constantinople), both of them with important Phoenician inscriptions.

The ancient history of Sidon is discussed in the article Phoenicia. In A.D. 325 a bishop of Sidon attended the Council of Nicaea. In 637-638 the town was taken by the Arabs. During the Crusades it was alternately in the possession of the Franks and the Mahommedans, but finally fell into the hands of the latter in 1291. As the residence of the Druse Amir Fakhr ud-Din, it rose to some prosperity about the beginning of the r 7th century, but towards the close of the 18th its commerce again passed away and has never returned. The biblical references to Sidon are Gen. x. 15 (the people), xlix. 13; Is. xxiii. 1-14; Ezek. xxvii. 8; Acts xxvii. 3. Sidon is nearly always mentioned along with Tyre - Jer. xxvii. 3, xlvii. 4; Ezra iii. 7; Joel iii. 4; Mark iii. 8 and Luke vi. 17; Mark vii. 24, 31, and Matt. xv. 21; Matt. xi. 21 and Luke x. 13 f.; Acts xii. 20. In the Old Testament, as frequently in Greek literature, "Sidonians" is used not in a local but in an ethnic sense, and means "Phoenicians," hence the name of Sidon was familiar to the Greeks earlier than that of Tyre, though the latter was the more important city (ed. Meyer, Encycl. Bibl. col. 4505).

See Robinson, Bibl. Res. ii. 478 ff.; Prutz, Aus Phonicien (1876), 98 ff.; Pietschmann, Gesch. d. Phonizier (1889), 53-5 8; Hamdy Bey and T. Reinach, Necropole royale a Sidon (1892-1896); A. Socin in Baedeker, Pal. u. Syrien. (G. A. C.*)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also sidon




From Ancient Greek Σιδών (Sidōn) from Phoenician 𐤑𐤉𐤃𐤅𐤍.

Proper noun

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  1. The principle city state of Phoenicia in biblical times, now Saida in the present day Lebanon.


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Up to date as of January 23, 2010
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Meaning: fishing; fishery

A town on the Mediterranean coast, about 25 miles north of Tyre. It received its name from the "first-born" of Canaan, the grandson of Noah (Gen 10:15, 19). It was the first home of the Phoenicians on the coast of Palestine, and from its extensive commercial relations became a "great" city (Josh 11:8; 19:28). It was the mother city of Tyre. It lay within the lot of the tribe of Asher, but was never subdued (Jdg 1:31). The Zidonians long oppressed Israel (Jdg 10:12). From the time of David its glory began to wane, and Tyre, its "virgin daughter" (Isa 23:12), rose to its place of pre-eminence. Solomon entered into a matrimonial alliance with the Zidonians, and thus their form of idolatrous worship found a place in the land of Israel (1 Kg 11:1, 33). This city was famous for its manufactures and arts, as well as for its commerce (1 Kg 5:6; 1Chr 22:4; Ezek 27:8). It is frequently referred to by the prophets (Isa 23:2, 4, 12; Jer 25:22; 27:3; 47:4; Ezek 27:8; 28:21, 22; 32:30; Joel 3:4). Our Lord visited the "coasts" of Tyre and Zidon = Sidon (q.v.), Mt 15:21; Mk 7:24; Lk 4:26; and from this region many came forth to hear him preaching (Mk 3:8; Lk 6:17). From Sidon, at which the ship put in after leaving Caesarea, Paul finally sailed for Rome (Acts 27:3, 4).

This city is now a town of 10,000 inhabitants, with remains of walls built in the twelfth century A.D. In 1855, the sarcophagus of Eshmanezer was discovered. From a Phoenician inscription on its lid, it appears that he was a "king of the Sidonians," probably in the third century B.C., and that his mother was a priestess of Ashtoreth, "the goddess of the Sidonians." In this inscription Baal is mentioned as the chief god of the Sidonians.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English

[[File:|thumbnail|250px|Sidon with an old seaside castle at the front]] Sidon, or Saida (in Arabic: صيدا Saydā;in Greek Σιδώνα,in Hebrew: צִידוֹן, Zaydo'wn), is the third biggest city in Lebanon. It is in the southern part of Lebanon at the waterside of the Mediterranean Sea. The name "Sidon" means a fishery.


Sidon came to existence in 4000 BC, and it was one of the most important cities of Phoenicia. From here, a great trading empire of the Mediterranean area was made. It was known for people who were good in making glass and purple cloth dyes. Glass making was a very important business in Sidon during in the Phoenician time, and it was done in big numbers. And, making of purple cloth dye was almost as important as glass making.


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