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Tyre

The storied city of Tyre, once famous across the known world for its purple dye made from murex sea snails (Tyrian purple), has a wonderful seaside location and extensive Roman ruins. It's a popular holiday destination for Beirutis, with excellent accommodation choices and what are Lebanon's best, cleanest beaches; you might even swim with turtles.

Tyre (called Ksour or Sour in Arabic), a predominantly Shiite town, is the power base of Hezbollah's Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and also home to the United Nations peacekeeping mission (UNIFIL). The town's foundations date back to approximately 2750 BC, after which it was ruled by the Egyptians and then the famous King Hiram, under whom it prospered. Later colonised variously by the Assyrians, Neo-Babylonians, Greeks, Seleucids, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamluks and Ottomans, the settlement began to languish from the 13th century onwards and, despite many attempts, never quite recovered its former glory.