A sea fortress, soap, and a hungry man

Saida Travel Blog

 › entry 18 of 20 › view all entries

Along the highway between the two cities were great plantations of bananas and many palm trees for as far as the eye could see.


As we entered Sidon we passed under a triumphal arch with picture of the Hezebollah leader and spiritual leader.  There were also billboards of their martyrs. 


They have fantastic sand beaches with turquoise water. They are littered with trash.  It is a real shame.  The reason for the trash is that their dump was built right next to the water along this beautiful coast. It is a massive hill of compacted garbage.  The issue is that whenever the tide comes in the garbage goes out with it.

  Whoever decided this was a good idea should be forced to pick up all of this trash. It should be a crime.


We reached the Crusader Castle and everyone was out and ready to go.  There was a woman begging with a newborn baby screaming.  The baby was not protected from the sun and extreme heat.  The mother did seem bothered.  One of the women on the tour told here to get the baby out of the sun and heat. 


We approached the castle, which is built on a natural rock formation dictating the size and shape.  The path out was a man made bridge.  One of the first things you notice is the circular stones in the walls.

  They are actually Roman column taken from Tyre.  To save time and effort they recycled the columns and used them to secure the inner and outer walls to each other.  The fortress is at the mouth of the harbor and was used to protect it.  There are the remains of a 12th century cathedral and great views of the city.  Rob climbed down and walled in the surf a little until guard came and told him to get out.  The site is small overall but very impressive for the views of the coast to the north and overall preservation.  You can feel the layers history in this place.


From here we walked through the souq (market) to get to the soap museum.  The souq was very similar to all the others but, smaller than those of Damascus and Istanbul.  There was fresh meat, fish, baked goods and so many other things for sell.  People were friendly and smiled back when smiled at.

Walking through the many alleyways there were many many wires running along and hanging from the ceiling. This is the electrical system for the souq, scary!


The soap museum was started by the Porsche family.  It was very well set-up for tours and very informative.  We were able to see the whole process of how they make the natural soaps and why the different ingredients are important. We made a purchase and everyone was ready to go.  But one of our group had disappeared into the souq to get food.  The guide went after him and brought him back.  He was very angry and let everyone know it.  Once we were all together we went to Khan El Franj which was a hotel for merchants where they could sell their goods.  The central courtyard was for selling goods and the lower level for housing animals.  The upper floor was for the merchants to stay.  Each trade or type of goods had their own location. Imported goods from Europe were exchanged for ones from the Indies.


 From here it back to the bus and on to Tyre.

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photo by: Deats