Dominated by a cross citadel and open to its port, Saida (or Sidon) is one of the most prestigious cities on the southern coast of Lebanon. A city steeped in history, with little-known origins, but which charms with its narrow streets and souks that have remained in their original state. Saida is one of the most beautiful tourist sites in Lebanon that is worth visiting.
For a successful stay in Lebanon, a short trip to the mysterious city of Saida (or Sidon) is essential. Located 48 km south of Beirut, Saida is a very old coastal city also known as the “capital of South Lebanon”. Emblematic city of ancient Phenicia from which it is held, Saida was born at the same time as Jbeil-Byblos and Tire were born. From its history, it essentially retains traces of the passage of the Babylonian and Roman Empire.
Saida is an obligatory step to fully immerse yourself in authentic Lebanon. This city is a real historical and commercial crossroads for the whole country. Through its heritage and its souks, the citadel succeeds in highlighting its finest assets.
First stop during a stay in Saida, the castle of the sea, built by the Crusaders in the 13th century. Connected to the city's port by a stone bridge, the fortress is visible from the bus station. It offers a magnificent landscape that can easily be observed by walking along the ledge. Once at the castle, the ruins lend themselves to an authentic stroll to the large main hall of the tower. From the top of the roof of the medieval tower, there is a panoramic view of the entire coastline.
Just opposite the castle, al-Moutran Street leads to the famous traditional souks of Saida. Between souks of tapestries and typically Lebanese finery, the arcades of the old town come alive with a particularly joyful atmosphere.
Further on, the furniture souk offers a unique landscape mixing children and old craftsmen working with wood in narrow alleys. These small carpentry workshops welcome visitors with open arms, who can take a closer look at the colored mirrors and cedar wood boat lamps.
At the exit from the main street, an alley leads to the Greek-Orthodox church of Saint-Nicolas. A true heritage vestige, this haven of peace dates from the 8th century. It is the only place that the city of Saida has been able to keep away from the marveling sounds of the souks. Calmer and more peaceful, the atmosphere is rather made up of many taste temptations. The ideal place to taste the local pastry (nammouras, balls of candied fruit or almond paste).
Below the souk is the Soap Museum. As its name suggests, this place invites you to discover the history of soap, from its manufacture to its daily use. Installed in the 19th century, the soap museum allows you to discover all the possible varieties of “saboun”: round, square, scented or colored.