SIDON or SAïDA (Arabic : صيدا, صيدون, _Ṣaydā_;
Phoenician : 𐤑𐤃𐤍, _Ṣdn_;
Biblical Hebrew :
צִידוֹן, _Ṣīḏōn_; Greek : Σιδών; Latin : _Sidon_)
is the third-largest city in
Lebanon . It is located in the South
Governorate of Lebanon, on the Mediterranean coast, about 40
kilometres (25 miles) north of Tyre and 40 km (25 miles) south of the
Beirut . In Genesis ,
Sidon is a son of Canaan , a grandson
Noah . Its name coincides with the modern Arabic word for
* 1 History
* 1.1 Modern era
* 2 Impact on
Sidon of regional underdevelopment
* 2.1 The Former _Makab_ (waste dump) and the Treatment Plant
* 3 Local government
* 4 Demographics
* 5 Main sights
* 6 Education
* 7 Archaeology
* 8 The Biblical
* 10 International relations
* 10.1 Twin towns and sister cities
* 11 Notable families
* 12 Notable people
* 12.1 In antiquity and the pre-modern era
* 12.2 In the modern era
* 13 See also
* 14 References
* 15 External links
Persian style bull protome found in
Sidon gives testimony of the
Aecheminid rule and influence. Marble, 5th century BC
Classical Arabic : صَيْدونْ _Saydoon_) has been
inhabited since very early in prehistory. The archaeological site of
Sidon II shows a lithic assemblage dating to the
Acheulean , whilst
Sidon III include a
Heavy Neolithic assemblage suggested to
date just prior to the invention of pottery . It was one of the most
important Phoenician cities, and it may have been the oldest. From
there and other ports a great Mediterranean commercial empire was
Homer praised the skill of its craftsmen in producing glass,
purple dyes, and its women's skill at the art of embroidery. 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. The
Peutinger Map showing Tyre and
Sidon in the 4th century
In AD 1855, 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
Sidon Sea Castle , built by the
Crusaders in AD 1228
In the years before Christianity,
Sidon had many conquerors:
Assyrians , Babylonians , Egyptians , Persians , Greeks , and finally
Herod the Great
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
Alexander the Great in 333
BC, when the
Hellenistic era of
Sidon began. Under the successors of
Alexander , it enjoyed relative autonomy 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
Archaeological Museum of
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
Roman colony was
established there, and was given the name of Colonia Aurelia Pia
Sidon. During the
Byzantine period, when the great earthquake of AD
551 destroyed most of the cities of Phoenice , 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 AD 636.
Sidon with a view
of the Mediterranean coast
On 4 December 1110
Sidon was captured , a decade after the First
Crusade , by King
Baldwin I of Jerusalem
Baldwin I of Jerusalem and King
Sigurd I of Norway .
It then became the centre of the
Lordship of Sidon , an important
lordship in the
Kingdom of Jerusalem .
Saladin captured it from the
Crusaders in 1187, but German
Crusaders restored it to Christian
control in the
Crusade of 1197 . It would remain an important Crusader
stronghold until 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.
Sidon came under Ottoman Turkish rule in the early 16th
century, it became the capital of the
Sidon Eyalet (province) and
regained a great deal of its earlier commercial importance.
World War I
World War I it became part of the French Mandate of
World War II
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
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 was a small fishing town of 10,000 inhabitants in 1900, but
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. (Refer
to the "OLD CITY" and the "ARCHITECTURE AND LANDSCAPE" sections
below). Panorama of
Sidon as seen from the top of the Sea
Saida International Stadium was inaugurated in 2000 for the Asian
Football Confederation\'s Cup 2000 .
IMPACT ON SIDON OF REGIONAL UNDERDEVELOPMENT
According to a recent United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
report "data also point to an increase in urban poverty especially in
Lebanon's largest cities suburbs such as Beirut,
Tripoli and Saida, as
illustrated by poverty-driven symptoms (child labour, over-crowdedness
and deteriorated environment conditions)."
In another UNDP report, the author discusses the development
Beirut over the rest of the regions of
South and Beqaa) is a well-known imbalance that can be dated to the
early 19th century. With the expansion of
Beirut in the 1870s, urban
growth in the future capital-city outgrew
Tripoli and Saida.
Transportation routes, missionary schools, universities and hospitals
as well as the
Beirut port development and the commerce of silk
participated to the fortification of
Beirut as a major trade center
for Mediterranean exchange (ARNAUD 1993; LABAKI 1999: 23). However,
the establishment of Great
Lebanon in 1920, under the French mandate,
added the poorer areas of the North (Akkar), Beqaa (Baalbak-Hermel)
and the South (Jabal Aamel) to the relatively affluent cities of Mount
Lebanon. This addition made of
Lebanon a country composed of unequally
developed regions. This legacy remains a heavy load to bear socially,
culturally, economically and politically. Even though the public
policies elaborated by the young Lebanese State were attempting to
have regional perspectives, the early urban planning schemes reveal a
development approach exclusively axed on
Beirut and its suburbs.
The post war development policy of the State, promoted by Hariri
government (1992–1998), was centred around balanced development and
is widely inspired by the 1943 Pact and the 1989 Taef agreement
(LABAKI1993: 104). However the application of this policy aims mainly
at the rehabilitation and construction of roads and infrastructures
(electricity, telephone, sewage). Another of its components is the
rehabilitation of government buildings (airport, port, schools,
universities and hospitals). Transportation projects (mainly
concentrated on the coastal line) constitute 25% of the budget of
10-year economic plan developed by the CDR (BAALBAKI 1994: 90).
However, all these projects are predominantly concentrated around
Beirut, ignoring the regions.
THE FORMER _MAKAB_ (WASTE DUMP) AND THE TREATMENT PLANT
Near the southern entrance to the city used to be a 'rubbish
mountain' called at the time by the locals the _Makab_; namely, a
600,000 cubic metre heap that reached the height of a four-story
building. It was originally created to dispose of the remains of
buildings destroyed in Israeli air strikes during the 1982 invasion,
but it then became the main dump for the city. Growing out of the sea,
it became an environmental hazard, with medical waste and plastic bags
polluting nearby fishing grounds.
Sidon politicians, including the Hariri family, failed for decades to
resolve the _Makab_ crisis—which has endangered residents health
(especially during episodic burning). In 2004, Engineer Hamzi
Sidon native, conceived the idea to establish a treatment
plant for the City's decades-old chronic waste problem. He established
IBC Enviro, privately funded, and the treatment plant became
operational in 2013.
The Ministry of Environment came up with a $50,000+ plan to clean the
whole area and transform the dump into a green space, along with other
heaps in the country. Qamla beach in Sidon, a coast in close proximity
to the Sea Castle, witnessed a large municipal cleanup in May 2011, as
it was an easy target of rubbish being washed up by the Makab. These
plans aim to revive the former glory of the city's coasts and attract
tourists who avoided swimming in Sidon's sea before. The project of
cleaning the region where the waste dump has already started, and
currently a waves-barrier is being built, and the vast bulk of the
waste dump being cleared.
The city of
Sidon is administrated by the Municipality of Sidon. 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.
Sidon 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 Sidon
District and the Union of
Sidon and Zahrani Municipalities (founded in
1978 and contains 15 municipalities).
Sidon hosts the southern
regional headquarters of a series of governmental facilities like the
Central Bank of Lebanon, Électricité du Liban, Central
Telecommunications Station and others. 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 Saray 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
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
Sidon was separated from its district to form a separate electoral
Sidon is the seat of the Greek Melkite Catholic Archbishop of Sidon
Deir el Qamar , and has housed a significant Catholic population
throughout its history.
Sidon also hosts the seats of the Sunni Mufti
and the Shiite
Ayatollah of South Lebanon.
In the 1930s, when
Lebanon was still under the French mandate, Sidon
had the largest Jewish population in Lebanon, estimated at 3,588, with
Roman Latin Catholic
Greek Melkite Catholic
_ Alleyway inside the Old Souks.
Sidon Sea Castle , a fortress built by the
Crusaders in the early
13th century. It is located near the Port of Sidon.
Sidon Soap Museum . It traces the history of the soap making in
the region and its different manufacturing steps.
* Khan el Franj_ ("
Caravanserai of the French"), 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, a historical residence built in 1721, an example
of Arab-Ottoman architecture. It is currently in the process of being
transformed into the History Museum of Sidon. This villa was earlier
occupied by the Hammoud family in the 18th century and also by members
of the famous Ottoman aristocrats of the
Abaza clan in the late 19th
century and early 20th century. The vaults at the ground level being
originally stables for the villa residents and then turned into shops
as part of the old souks, and known until recent time by association
to the Abazas.
* The Castle of St. Louis (_Qalaat Al Muizz_). It was built by the
Crusaders in the 13th century on top of the remains of a fortress
built by the
Al Muizz . It is located to the south of
the Old Souks near Murex Hill .
Eshmun Temple , dedicated to the Phoenician God of healing. Built
in the 7th century BC, it is located in the north of
Sidon near the
* The British War Cemetery in Sidon. Opened in 1943 by units of His
Majesty's (King George VI) British Forces occupying the
the 1941 campaign against the Vochi French troops. It was originally
used for the burial of men who died while serving with the occupation
force, but subsequently the graves of a number of the casualties of
the 1941 campaign were moved into the cemetery from other burial
grounds or from isolated positions in the vicinity. The cemetery now
contains 176 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War and nine war
graves of other nationalities. It was designed by G. Vey. It is
perhaps that only garden in modern
Sidon that is elegantly kept and
cared for. It is not a public garden but can be visited when the
wardens have its gateways opened
Sidon is home to numerous educational facilities ranging from public
elementary schools to private universities. According to a 2006 study,
the city is home to 29 schools that serve a total of 18,731 students:
37% are in public schools, 63% are in private schools.
contains 10 universities, 5 of which are private universities.
Lebanese International University (LIU)
Lebanese University (LU)
Faculty of Law, Political Science and Public Administration
University of Saint Joseph (USJ)
American University of
Lebanese University (LU)
Faculty of Public Health
Lebanese University (LU)
Faculty of Literature and human Science
Lebanese University (LU)
Institute of Social Sciences
American University of Science and Technology
Lebanese American University
Lebanese University (LU)
Institute of Technology
SIDON I is an archaeological site located to the east of the city,
south of the road to
Jezzine . An assemblage of flint tools was found
by P. E. Gigues suggested to date between 3800 and 3200 BC. The
collection included narrow axes or chisels that were polished on one
side and flaked on the other, similar to ones found at Ain Cheikh,
Nahr Zahrani and Gelal en Namous. The collection appears to have gone
missing from the
Archaeological Museum of the American University of
SIDON II is said to be "near the church" at approximately fifty
meters above sea level . P. E. Gigues suggested that the industry
found on the surface of this site dated to the
SIDON III was found by E. Passemard in the 1920s, who made a
collection of material that is now in the National Museum of Beirut
marked "Camp de l'Aviation". It includes large flint and chert
bifacials that may be of
Heavy Neolithic origin.
SIDON IV is the tell mound of ancient
Sidon with Early Bronze Age
(3200 BC -) deposits, now located underneath the ruined Saint Louis
Castle and what are also thought to be the ruins of a Roman theatre.
In indication of the high-profile of the old city of
archaeological expeditions, and mainly in the 19th century, in October
1860 the famous French scholar
Ernest Renan was entrusted with an
archaeological mission to Lebanon, which included the search for the
antique parts of Sidon. The Phoenician inscriptions that he
discovered, and his field data, were eventually published in his
notebook the: _Mission de Phénicie_ (1864–1874; _Phoenician
The St. Louis land-castle grounds were excavated in 1914–1920 by a
French team. Then eastwards a new site was also excavated by another
generation of French expeditions in the 1960s. This same site received
renewed attention in 1998 when the Directorate General of Antiquities
Lebanon authorized the British Museum to begin excavations on this
area of land that was specifically demarcated for archaeological
research. This has resulted in published papers, with a special focus
on studying ceramics.
The archaeological fieldwork was not fully undertaken since the
independence of the Lebanon. The main finds are displayed in the
National Museum in Beirut. The fieldwork was also interrupted during
the long civil war period, and it is now resumed but at a timid and
slow scale, and not involving major international expeditions or
expertise. Perhaps this is also indicative of the general lack in
cultural interests among the authorities of this city, and almost of
the non-existence of notable intellectual activities in its modern
life. There are signs that the locals are beginning to recognise the
value of the medieval quarters, but this remains linked to minor
individual initiatives and not a coordinated collective effort to
rehabilitate it like it has been the case with
Byblos , even though
the old district of
Sidon contains a great wealth in old and ancient
THE BIBLICAL SIDON
Shrine commemorating the last meeting place between
St. Paul and
St. Peter inside the Old City of Sidon.
The Bible describes
Sidon in several passages:
* It received its name from the "first-born" of Canaan , the
Noah (Genesis 10:15, 19).
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;
* Jesus visited the region or "coasts" (
King James Version
King James Version ) of Tyre
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
* From Sidon, at which his ship put in after leaving
Caesarea , Paul
finally sailed for Rome (Acts 27:3, 4).
* The account ascribed to the Phoenician historian Sanchuniathon
Sidon a daughter of Pontus, son of
Nereus . She is said there to
have first invented musical song from the sweetness of her voice.
TWIN TOWNS AND SISTER CITIES
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in
Sidon is twinned with:
Constanţa , Romania
Sofia , Bulgaria
Sochi , Russia
* Abou Zahr
* Abou Zaynab
* El Kotob
Jumblatt -not originally from Sidon
* Osseiran family -not originally from Sidon
IN ANTIQUITY AND THE PRE-MODERN ERA
Dorotheus of Sidon (1st century BC) Greek astrologer associated
Zeno of Sidon , an Epicurean philosopher of the 1st century BC (c.
150 – c. 75 BC), who was born in the city of
Sidon in Phoenicia.
Antipater of Sidon (2nd century BC): Poet
Boethus of Sidon (c. 75 – c. 10 BC): Peripatetic philosopher
* Diodotus of
Sidon (1st century BC): Peripatetic philosopher,
Boethus of Sidon and one of the teachers of the historian,
geographer, and philosopher
* Early-Christian martyrs, Zenobius and his sister Zenobia ,
Diocletian , 3rd century AD
* Boulos (Paul) al-Rahib, Melchite Bishop and scholar of the 13th
Euthymios Saifi , Melkite Catholic Bishop of
Sidon and Tyre,
Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera , archer who is associated with the
stories of Jesus Christ in the New Testament
IN THE MODERN ERA
Fayza Ahmed (Al-Rawwass), Arab singer formerly based in Egypt
Raymond Audi , international banker, and former Minister of
Refugees in the government of Lebanon
Afif al-Bizri , (Afif
El-Bizri ) former Chief of Staff of the
Syrian armed forces with a high-standing military rank and political
profile during the Syria-Egypt republican union of the
El-Bizri , filmmaker, producer, professor
El-Bizri , philosopher, architect
Emile Bustani , entrepreneur and philanthropist
* Nazih El-Bizri, former member of parliament, government minister,
mayor, and physician
Rafic Hariri , former Prime Minister, billionaire and
Bahia Hariri , former Minister of Education in the governments of
Lebanon and philanthropist
Saad Hariri , youngest former Prime Minister of Lebanon
Bahaa Hariri , international businessman and billionaire, son of
Adel Osseiran , co-founder of modern Lebanon
Sheikh Mohamad Osseiran , Jaafari Mufti of Sidon
Maarouf Saad , former deputy representing
Sidon in the national
parliament and founder of the Popular Nasserite Party
Fouad Siniora , former Prime Minister of Lebanon, minister of
finance, and member of parliament
Solh , former Prime Minister of
Solh , former Prime Minister of Lebanon
Sidon Eyalet (Ottoman era)
Zimredda (Sidon mayor)
Amarna letter EA 144
Eshmunazar II sarcophagus
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Lorraine Copeland; P. Wescombe (1965).
_Inventory of Stone-Age sites in Lebanon, p. 136_. Imprimerie
Catholique. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
* ^ Thomas Kelly, Herodotus and the Chronology of the Kings of
Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research , no.
268, pp. 39–56, 1987
* ^ "
Istanbul Archaeology Museum". _The New York Times_. Retrieved
10 May 2008.
* ^ Archived 5 November 2013 at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ "Towards a Regionally Balance Development" (PDF). Undp.org.lb.
* ^ Antelava, Natalia (2009-12-25). "Lebanese city\'s mountain of
rubbish". BBC News. Retrieved 2015-03-16.
* ^ "Mountain of rubbish overwhelms Sidon". _Emirates 24/7_.
Retrieved 15 September 2014.
* ^ "
Sidon chokes under rubbish dump". Retrieved 15 September 2014.
* ^ "Syringes plague
Sidon beach as dump spills medical waste".
_The Daily Star Newspaper - Lebanon_. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
* ^ Simon, Reeva S., Michael M. Laskier, and Sara Reguer, eds.
2003. The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times.
New York: Columbia University Press. P. 332
* ^ "Welcome to Debbane Palace". Museumsaida.org. Retrieved 6 May
* ^ Reading Room Manchester. "Cemetery Details". CWGC. Retrieved
* ^ Gigues, P.E., Leba'a, Kafer Garra et Qraye, nécropoles dde la
région sidonienne. BMB, vol. 1, pp. 35–76, vol. 2, pp. 30–72,
vol. 3, pp. 54–63.
* ^ "Previous Excavation". SidonExcavation. Retrieved 26 January
* _ This article incorporates text from a publication now in the
public domain : Easton, Matthew George (1897). "article name needed".
Easton\'s Bible Dictionary _ (New and revised ed.). T. Nelson and
* Additional notes taken from _Collier's Encyclopedia_ (1967
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