NKT - 03 -Sidon, Tyre & Eshmoun
(full day with lunch)

Our tour starts by visiting the Sea Castle, Khan El Franj and Soap museum in Sidon then the Necropolis and Sea site of Tyre. Lunch is served in a good restaurant in Tyre. On the way back, we visit the temple of Eshmoun


The third great Phoenician city-state, Sidon's origins are lost from memory. The name was mentioned in the texts for the first time in the 14th century B.C. in the 'Tell El Amara Letters'. But it was during the Persian era, between the end of the 6th century B.C. and the mid-4th century B.C. that the city experienced its golden age.Sidon was an open city with many cultural influences, including the Egyptian and the Greek.

During the Persian period, Aegean sculptors contributed to the nearby temple of Eshmoun, the city's god. He was associated with the Aesculapius, the Greek god of healing.
After its revolt against the Persians and destructions in 351 B.C., Sidon never regained its former glory. But the city's position had improved by 551 A.D., when after the disastrous earthquake of that year it was chosen as the site of Beirut law school. The crusader period, between 1110 and 1291, brought Sidon new prestige as the second of the four baronies of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Today the ruins of the Crusader sea Castle and the Castle of Saint-Louis, Known as the land castle, can still be seen in Sidon.
From the Mamluke and Ottoman periods we have the Great Mosque, built on the foundations of a Crusader building and the Khan 'el –

Franj" built by Fakhreddine II.Today the town 41 Kilometers from Beirut, has grown into a thriving commercial and business centre serving the entire region.In 1516 the 400- year ottoman rule began. Later, in the 17th century, Beirut knew a period of great prosperity under the government of
emir Fakhreddine II. Then with the break –up of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the World War I, the city became the capital of modern Lebanon.
Beirut, with nearly a million inhabitants, remains the cultural and commercial centre of the country. Some of its main landmarks are:
the martyrs’ statue, the Souks (markets) and the parliament building, which are part of the design covering 1.8 million square meters. In extensive archeological investigations, historical periods ranging
from Canaanite (3,000- 1200 B.C) to ottoman (1516-1918 A.D), have been revealed.  


Although the earliest origins of Tyre are unknown, the testimonies
of ancient historians and some archeological evidence suggest that
it goes back to the start of the 3rd millennium B.C. Originally
a mainland settlement with an island city a short distance offshore,
 it came of age in the 10th century B.C. when King Hiram
expanded the mainland and built two ports and a temple to
Melkart, the cityIts flourishing maritime trade,'s
god.Its flourishing maritime trade, Mediterranean colonies
and its purple dye and its purple dyeand glass industries made
Tyre very powerful and wealthy. But the city's wealth
attracted enemies. In the sixth century B.C. the Tyrians
successfully defied Nebuchadnezzar for 13 years. Alexander
 the Great laid siege to it for 7 months, finally overwhelming
the island city by constructing a great causeway from the shore
 to the island. In their day the Romans built a magnificent city at
Tyre. The remains of its Roman streets, arcades and public
buildings, including one of the largest hippodromes of the period,
are Tyre's major attractions today.
Occupied by the Moslem Arabs in 636, then captured in 1124 by
the Crusaders, Tyre was an important fortified town of the Kingdom
of Jerusalem. In 1291 the Mamlukes took the city, then during
the 400-year Ottoman period beginning in 1516, it remained a
quiet fishing town.
In 1984 Tyre's important archeological remains prompted UNESCO
 to make the town a world heritage site. Located 79 km from
Beirut, prosperous Tyre is notable for its many high-rise
buildings. Nevertheless, the inner city has retained its
industrious maritime character and its interesting old-style houses.




It is located 35 km away from Beirut , one of the Phoenician ruins
 in south Lebanon. The Eshmoun Temple was built during the
Persian Phoenician period in the 4th century before Christ
and dedicated to the god Eshmoun "Healer" (Esculape for the Greek).


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