Tyre/Sour UNESCO ruins

Tyre Travel Blog

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People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia)

I don't know whether i can blame sleeping through our alarm on the fact that it was Friday 13th, especially with our track record of ineptness at waking up in a morning, but i guess i can give it a go :) The plan for the day was to make a trip 80km to the South of Beirut to visit the ruins at Tyre (also known as Sour), which are rated as some of the most important in the Middle East.

It was midday by the time that we left Ahmad's apartment, so i was beginning to question if we had enough time to complete the trip in half a day, but we nevertheless opted to give it a go.

Luckily we managed to catch a 12.30 bus from the Cola station, but the bad news was that it was a slow bus that stopped constantly along the way and we also had to change bus in Saida, with a 20 minute wait for other passengers to show up. On route we passed many military checkpoints and there was a strong UN presence on the streets. This was due to the heavy fighting that has occurred in this region in the past, between the Israelis and Hezbollah. Thus, it was not until 15.00 that we actually set foot into Tyre, which really wasn't ideal, especially as we still hadn't had time to buy any food all day!

Ancient Tyre had a rich History, serving as a prevalent sea port under the rule of the Phoenicians.

As well as helping to develop trade and commerce across the Mediterranean, the people also created one of the first alphabets known to man. Alexander the Greats army conquered the City in the 332BC and this not only saw a change in government but also a geographical abnormality. Tyre had always been an island, but for the Macedonians to conquer the Tyrians, they had to build a causeway from the mainland. With this successfully completed, Alexanders men conquered the City for the first time in its History. Over eight thousand citizens were massacred and another two thousand were crucified, as a warning to other settlements that were contemplating resistance. As time passed the causeway expanded with build up of sand from the sea and today it is hard to imagine that Tyre hasn't always been part of the mainland.

The first area of ruins that we visited were classified as the Al-Bass Archaeological Site, and the entrance fee was 3500 Lebanese Lira ($2.

30), which was half the normal price, as we had our student cards. For those wanting to go in for free, there is a hole in the fence on the far side of the complex, where all the locals enter :) The most notable sections of the ruins included a large area of sarcophagi, most of which still had the bones of the deceased inside! Rather eerie. There was also a nice Monumental Archway and some seating area from a massive Hippodrome that was still in tact.

As we were pushed for time we didn't get to spend too long at the first site, before it was time to go to the Al-Mina Archaeological Site. The pricing was the same here, and as we could see pretty much everything by walking around the perimeter fence, we decided not to bother paying to actually enter the site. Once again it would have been easy to gain free access by walking through the Muslim cemetery, but we didn't have the time or desire to do so.

Just across the road from here were some remains of a Crusader Citadel, but these were in a sorry looking state and didn't even warrant a photo!

The last area to look around for the day was the Christian quarter, which had some nice narrow streets, but nothing that particularly captured my attention. I did like the surrounding harbour though, so we sat and greedily gobbled down a burger and kebab, before taking a walk along the promenade. With the sun rapidly descending on the horizon, we agreed that it was time to make a move back to Beirut. To be honest i didn't think too much to Tyre, and it surprises me that it is a UNESCO listed site, but i think this has as much to do with its History as the ruins themselves.

portia says:
hmm, I wonder... you will be an old man then!
Posted on: Mar 16, 2009
Deats says:
Thanks for taking so long reading it :)

Yeah i cant believe Taiwan is a year ago Portia. I think i spent more than a month with you and Eric this last year - i wonder if we will meet again before im 30 haha
Posted on: Mar 16, 2009
portia says:
hi, there, it's your birthday again, gee I remember reading it last year and meeting you not long after, now a year has gone by... Happy Birthday wherever you are!
Posted on: Mar 14, 2009
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