Temple of Echmoun


About 3km northeast of Saida, this is Lebanon’s only Phoenician site boasting more than mere foundations. Begun in the 7th century BC, the temple complex was devoted to Echmoun, god of the city of Saida; the highlight is undoubtedly the throne of Astarte, flanked by two winged sphinxes. Later constructions are visible around it, including a Roman-era villa (right at the end of the site) and Byzantine church, both with interesting mosaics in the process of restoration.

There are no signboards, so interpretation can be tricky; the temple is the large construction on your right just after the metal staircase; other elements are from later structures.

From central Saida, you can take a taxi (LL10,000) to the ruins. By minibus (LL1000), get off the highway just beyond Centrepoint shopping centre, parallel with the big stadium. You'll see a car on a pole; head down this road and the site is just over a kilometre along this orchard-lined road. Although admission is free, it is polite to tip the volunteer caretaker LL5000.

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