Tyre Banner
During the Al Adha holiday we took a day to visit the two major cities of Lebanon south of Beirut, Sidon and Tyre. The banner above shows a panoramic picture of one of Tyre's most famous ruins, a huge Roman necropolis (crypt), with an arc de triomphe at its entrance.

A Little Background.....
Although the earliest origins of Tyre are unknown, the testimonies of ancient historians and some archaeological evidence suggest it goes back to the start of the 3rd millennium BC. Originally a mainland settlement with an island city a short distance offshore, it came of age in the 10th century BC when King Hiram expanded the mainland and built two ports and a temple to honor Melkart, the city's god. Its flourishing maritime trade, Mediterranean colonies, its purple dye and glass industries made Tyre very powerful and wealthy. But the city's wealth attracted enemies. In the 6th century BC the Tyrians successfully defied Nebuchadnezzar for 13 years. Alexander The Great laid siege to it for 7 years, finally overwhelming the island city by constructing a great causeway from the shore to the island.

The Roman Era and Beyond
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. Occupied by the Muslim 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; during the 400 year Ottoman period (beginning 1516) it remained a quiet town. Now a sleepy port town, it was incorporated into the nation of Lebanon at the end of World War I. It is a charming place in which to while away vacation time.

The City of Tyre
The Sidonian Harbor at TyreWhat remains of Tyre, in addition to the archeological treasures described below, is a fishing town of approximately 250,000, with an old city filled with the characteristic Middle East bazaars or souks (located on the landfill connecting the original island to the mainland) and a new city, located inland. Tyre has a colorful souk (market) well worth exploring. Unfortunately, it was closed on our visit, due to the religious holiday. Near the market you'll see a busy fisherman's port, in Phoenician times referred to as the "Sidonian port" because it faced north towards Sidon. Along the port with the sea on your right is the city's Christian Quarter, a picturesque area of narrow streets, traditional architecture, and the Seat of the Maronite Bishop of Tyre and the Holy Land.

The Archeology of Tyre
Tyre is home to many archaeological sites, and  in 1979 UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. We have created a virtual tour on Google Expeditions to show you these sites.

A Virtual Tour of Tyre's Archeological Treasures
Please click on the white information icon to learn about each scene

Following our visit to Tyre, we went to the seaport of Sidon. Click here to visit. . .

Return to Travel Archives
Return to Travel Archives