Saida (Sidon) is said to mean "fishing", and even today fishermen moor their boats in the small picturesque
port. Sidon was the third great Phoenician city-state, rivaling Byblos and Tyre as a naval power.
In Darius' time, towards the end of the 6th century B.C., it was the capital of the fifth Persian satrapy and a
showplace of buildings and gardens. The town was conquered by the Crusaders after a famous siege
lasting 47 days, then retaken by Saladin 70 years later. The Castl of the Sea, built by Crusaders in 1228,
guards the entry to the harbor. The Great Mosque, the ruins of the castle of St. Louis, the Phoenician temple
to the god Eshmoun, and the burial grounds with their catacombs and underground chambers, are all relics
of Sidon's impressive past. Today the town, 41 kilometers from Beirut and known as the capital of the South,
has grown into a thriving commercial and business center serving the entire region.
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© 1997-2001 by Ayman Ghaziayman@ghazi.de
Last changes: August 4, 1997