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Introducing Sidon (Saida)

A small, workaday but attractive port town lying 40km south of Beirut amid thick citrus and banana groves, Sidon is most famous in modern times as the birthplace of assassinated former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Delving back rather further into history, though, it was once a rich and flourishing Phoenician city, with tight trade links to ancient Egypt and a globally renowned glass-making industry.

Traces of Sidon’s rich history can still be found all over town, with many ancient remnants tucked away in its intriguing medieval souqs. Unlike pretty Byblos to the north, Sidon makes few concessions to tourists: here, the history is very much part of everyday life, and while this means that options for accommodation and eating out are fairly limited, it also offers a stronger sense of DIY exploration than some of Lebanon’s busier destinations.