Hamams or Turkish bathhouses are a common feature in Middle Eastern cities, many dating back to the Mamluk era. Sidon is no exception. While exploring the old city, I chanced upon two bathhouses, both lovingly restored.This is Hamam El-Ward, an 18th century hamam that still functions today, just like it had been in the olden days. Restored in 1993...more
Built in 1592 by Sheikh Ali bin Mohammad bin Qtaysh, it is one of the oldest mosques in Sidon. From outside, it looks like it has gone through painstaking restoration. It is surrounded by an aromatic lemon garden where its builder is buried.I didn't get the chance to visit inside, which is said to have two lovely Roman granite columns and a...more
Another blast from past is the Emir Fakhreddine II Palace, or rather what is left of it. Although situated in a very scenic seaside location, the palace's ruined state does not match the greatness of the man who built it.Fakhreddine II was the first prince of Lebanon under the Ottoman Empire. He came from a local Druze family, and his reign was...more
The other hamam that I saw was the Hamam El-Sheikh, still functional and also lovingly restored. I got a chance to see the interiors - at least the lounge area - and I was impressed by the 3-storey high dome ceiling. From the outside, the building looks like any other building (boringly brown, I must say) but getting in and seeing for yourself just...more
Although parts of it had been dolled up, courtesy of the Hariri Foundation, the souk in Sidon is one of Middle East's great souk in terms of authenticity of experience. The trades are mainly for locals, with hardly any tourist souvenir shops (in fact, I haven't seen any). This gives the visitor the chance to peek into local ways - and most of all,...more
Besides the souk and the old city, the Sea Castle is Sidon's centerpiece attraction, partly because of its grand location - on a small island across Sidon's waterfront promenade. The island has a special significance to the early Phoenicians - a temple dedicated to their local god Melkart, Hercules' Phoenician counterpart - was built on the same...more
This was originally an edifice built by the Knights Hospitallers during the Crusades, but was converted to a mosque after they were driven out by the Arabs, who did quite a good job in doing so - the mosque is considered one of the finest examples of 13th century Islamic architecture.One of the distinctive features of the mosque are the two mihrabs...more
The Latin Church - Roman Catholic Church to you and me - is located inside the old city, just across the Khan Al-Franj. It was built in the mid-19th century, fairly recent by Sidon standards, by the Franciscan friars when they were housed at the Khan Al-Franj. It remains a fully functional church, named after the Lady of Annunciation, and has an...more
Translated "Caravanserai of the French," Khan Al-Franj is it is, what it is - a khan for foreign traders given by the French to the 17th century ruler of Sidon, Fakhreddine. Back in its heydays, Khan Al-Franj was the city's focal point for business, also housing the French consul's office (and I thought they've given this to Fakhreddine?). It is...more
The well restored, well maintained Debbanne Palace is a great way to see how Sidon's upper crust lived - in Arab-Ottoman splendor. The palace is opulent and richly decorated with intricate ceilings (photo 5), a three-storey high central hall (photo 1), a fountain in the main living area (photo 2) and beautiful marble mosaics (photo 3). The palace...more
The ruins of this Crusader castle has a colorful history. Its French name is after France's Louis IX who built the existing structures in 1253, before which the castle was a Fatimid fortress known as Qala'at al-Muizz, after the Fatimid caliph Al-Muizz il-Din Allah.When the Arabs retook the city, the castle was restored, but it was largely neglected...more
Located at a lively square deep inside Sidon's old city, this ancient mosque, regarded as the city's oldest dating back to 1201, had clearly been "modernized." It is said that Sidon's largest dome could be found here - but I wasn't able to get inside as midday prayers were ongoing during my visit.But the scene outside the mosque is lively enough to...more
Shawarmas are a fixture in Middle Eastern souks and this is true for Sidon as well. There are numerous shawarma stands scattered around the souk, making them convenient options should those hunger pangs appear. The best part is, these snacks on wheels cater mainly to the local crowd, so you get the full local authentic taste.more
Sidon is famous for its biscuits, particularly the sanioura, a crumbly biscuit that is often described as a cross between a shortbread and a pavlova. Have a taste of these biscuits while wandering around the souk where numerous bakeries bake them fresh for locals and the occasional tourists.more
In need of refreshment after hours of wandering in the maze of alleys of the old city, I stumbled upon this nicely done cafe. I was greeted by the cafe's two friendly attendants - Jack and Yahya (picture 2), whose family owns the place. A cup of tea and lots of water after, they showed me the cafe's greatest treasure - the beautiful floor mosaics...more
My fiance (who's Lebanese) said he would have never imagined himself stopping at a local cafe across the street from the Sea Castle to play backgammon and have a shisha but any trip must be a first.After walking around Saida, visiting the Soap Museum and the mosques, don't rush back to the capital. Stop at one of these no-name cafes for a snack and...more
Part of al-Qualaa Hotel, Noor's restaurant has the best views of the Sea Castle of Sidon. It is located on the terrace and upper floor of the 12th century Crusader-period building which was restored and converted into a hotel. I stopped by for coffee on my visit to Sidon in Sep 2010, so I have not tried the food, but believe it would be a great...more
Crowded with locals, Falafel Abou Rami is an excellent place to have an authentic Saïda-style falafel sandwich. This unpretentious local eatery is located at the northern tip of Old Sidon, on the corniche facing the Sea Castle. When visiting the city, make sure to stop here for a delicious falafel sandwich, whether it is for lunch, dinner or an...more
it is a very nice place where it is very crowded in ramadan and feasts and other occasions
u will be incontact with ppl directly
it is very cheap
u can eat fool and hommos (lebanese menu)
for less than 1 $
Dress Code: dress as if u are going to do shopping
usual wear , jeans and a top and tennis shoes
Getting to Sidon by public transportation - mainly by mini-buses and service taxis - is easy. The main terminal is Cola bus station in southern Beirut. As a personal preference, I'd go for the mini-bus as I feel safer in it than in a service taxi. There are no defined schedules - buses leave as and when they're full. The ride takes about hour along...more
Buses from Beirut stops at Sahet en-Nejmeh, a square in the modern part of town. From Beiruts Cola Station you can take a bus to Saida. There are different kind of buses and they are leaving often.The big local bus takes the road by the sea and stops often. It costs 750 LL.The minibus is quicker and costs 1000 LL.The big air-conditioned bus takes...more
Not far from the Sea Castle and the open air fish market is the picturesque covered souq of Sidon, which dates back to an age that most inhabitants dwelt in the area between the harbour and the city walls.
Here shopkeepers have their workshops and trade in the same way they hav done for centuries.
It is not easy to find your way around the souqs, but the area with nice old bows and walls is rather small, so at the end you always will find your way out.
What to buy: There are a lot of pastryshops selling all kinds of cakes, biscuits, sweets and delicious fresh bread. Sanioura, a light crumbly biscuit, is the speciality of Sidon.
The souqs are also famous for producing orange-blossom-water. We really enjoyed the diversity of goods in the souq
To visit the Crusader's castle you need to buy a ticket from the booth at the beginning of the walkway - yes, the booth that looks like a small army post. In December 2003 the price was of 6000 Lebanese Pounds, which is roughly 4 US dollars.
The Resistance Tourist Landmark, located about 20 minutes out of Sidon showcases the history of the resistance movement against Israeli occupation of South Lebanon. As you enter, drop by at the Multi Purpose Hall for a video presentation of the history of the resistance movement. Then climb up the hill to a lookout point that gives you a...more
About 3km north of Sidon, on the banks of a river called Nahr el-Awali, lie the ruins of the the Temple of Echmoun. It was dedicated to the Phoenician god of medicine and healing, the most revered in Sidon at the time and one that was later equated with the Graeco-Roman god Asclepius. According to Phoenician mythology, the goddess Astarte turned...more
If you're going on a day trip to Saida, take the time and go a bit further make: visit this sanctuary that holds a special place in the heart of the locals. It seams this sanctuary is where Virgin Mary waited for Jesus while he went to preach in Tyre and Saida. Jewish women were not allowed to enter pagan towns and, as Saida was a cananean city and...more
Sidon is a very small city,you can see it all in few hours,maybe less,it has a population of 38,000.it is known as the capital of the south.And since it`s only 48km away from the capital Beirut and it`s connected with a high way,it takes you about 40 minutes drive to get there.Sidon has not yet built any Hotels.but you can always make a day visit...more
The Great Mosque South of the souk on the way to the Castle of St. Louis, is the Great Mosque, formerly the Church of St. John of the Hospitalers. The four walls of this rectangular building (recently restored to their natural beauty) date to the 13th century.Originally a fortress-like Crusader compound with its own chapel, it is still an imposing...more