Sidon, on the coast 48 kilometers south of Beirut, is one of the Famous names in ancient history. But of all of Lebanon's cities this is the most mysterious, for its past has been tragically scattered and plundered.
In the 19th century, treasure hunters and amateur archaeologists made off with many of its most beautiful and important objects, some of which can now be seen in foreign museums.
In this century too, ancient objects from Sidon (Saidoon is the Phoenician name, Saida in Arabic), have turned up on the world's antiquities markets.
Other traces of its history lie beneath the concrete of modern constructions, perhaps buried forever. The challenge for today's visitor to Sidon then is to recapture a sense of this city's ancient glory from the intriguing elements that still survive.
The largest city in south Lebanon, Sidon is a busy commercial center with the pleasant, conservative atmosphere of a small town. Since Persian times this was known as the city of gardens and even today it is surrounded by citrus and banana plantations.