Sidon: The Third Largest City in Lebanon

Sidon, also known as Saida, is the third largest city in Lebanon, after Beirut and Tripoli. It is located in the South Governorate, of which it is the capital, on the Mediterranean coast. Sidon has a population of about 80,000 within city limits, while its metropolitan area has more than a quarter-million inhabitants.

History of Sidon

Sidon has been inhabited since very early in prehistory. The archaeological site of Sidon II shows a lithic assemblage dating to the Acheulean, while finds at Sidon III include a Heavy Neolithic assemblage suggested to date just prior to the invention of pottery.

Sidon was one of the most important Phoenician cities, and it may have been the oldest. From here, and other ports, a great Mediterranean commercial empire was founded. Homer praised the skill of its craftsmen in producing glass, purple dyes, and its women’s skill at the art of embroidery. It was also from here that a colonizing party went to found the city of Tyre.

Sidon was conquered by many different civilizations over the centuries, including Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamluks, Ottomans, and French. Each left their mark on the city’s culture, architecture, and religion.

Sidon was also a center of learning and culture, attracting scholars, poets, and artists from around the region. It was home to the famous Phoenician Eshmunazar sarcophagus (6th century BC), the Roman Temple of Eshmun (3rd century AD), the Crusader Sea Castle (13th century AD), and the Great Mosque (13th century AD).

Sidon Today: Third Largest City in Lebanon

Sidon is still a bustling city with a busy port and a vibrant commercial and cultural life. It is known for its old souks (markets), where visitors can find traditional crafts, spices, sweets, and soap. Sidon is also famous for its citrus orchards and its fishery.

Sidon has many attractions for tourists, such as the Soap Museum, the Debbane Palace (18th century AD), the Khan el Franj (17th century AD), and the Audi Foundation’s Museum of Phoenician History. Sidon also hosts several festivals throughout the year, such as the Sidon International Festival (July-August), the Orange Festival (May), and the Fish Festival (September).

Sidon is also a city of diversity and tolerance, where different religious communities coexist peacefully. Sidon has several churches and mosques of various denominations, as well as a synagogue and a Druze shrine. Sidon is also home to many refugees from Palestine and Syria, who have found shelter and support in the city.

Sidon main sport

Sidon’s main sport is football (soccer), which is popular among the youth and adults. Sidon has several football clubs, such as Al-Ahli Sidon, Al-Safa SC, and Al-Nahda SC, which compete in the Lebanese Premier League and other tournaments. Sidon also has a football stadium, the Saida International Stadium, which can host up to 22,600 spectators.

Sidon’s main airport?

Sidon does not have its own airport, but the closest one is the Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY), which is about 19.4 miles / 31.3 kilometers away from the city. This airport is the main airport of Lebanon and serves both domestic and international flights. It is also the hub for the national carrier Middle East Airlines (MEA).

Sidon’s main newspaper

Sidon’s main newspaper is, which is an online daily newspaper published by journalist Ghassan Zaatari. It covers local, national, and international news, as well as topics such as culture, sports, and religion. It was founded in 2002 and is licensed by the Ministry of Information and the Lebanese Press Syndicate.

Driving time from sidon to beirut

the driving distance between Sidon and Beirut is about 43 kilometers. If you drive with an average speed of 112 kilometers per hour, it will take you about 23 minutes to get from Sidon to Beirut. However, this may vary depending on traffic conditions and road closures.


Sidon is a city with a rich and diverse history, culture, and heritage. It is the third-largest city in Lebanon and the capital of the South Governorate. Sidon has many attractions for tourists and locals alike, such as its old souks, its citrus orchards, its soap museum, and its Crusader Sea Castle. Sidon is also a city of tolerance and solidarity, where different religious communities coexist peacefully and where many refugees have found a home. Sidon is a city that deserves to be visited and explored.

Questions and Answers Sections About Third Largest City in Lebanon

 Q: What is the meaning of Sidon’s name?

A: The Phoenician name Ṣīdūn probably meant “fishery” or “fishing town”.

Q: What is Sidon’s nickname?

A: Sidon is sometimes called “the mother of Tyre”, because it was from here that a colonizing party went to found Tyre.

Q: What is Sidon’s main export?

A: Sidon is known for its production of soap, which is made from olive oil and soda ash.

Q: What is Sidon’s main attraction?

A: One of Sidon’s main attractions is the Crusader Sea Castle, which was built by the Knights Templar in 1228 on a small island connected to the mainland by a causeway.

Q: What is Sidon’s main dish?

A: One of Sidon’s main dishes is sayadieh, which is rice cooked with fish stock and topped with fried fish and caramelized onions.

Q: What is Sidon’s main festival?

A: One of Sidon’s main festivals is the Sidon International Festival, which showcases local and international music, dance, theater, and art.

Q: What is Sidon’s main religion?

A: Sidon has a mixed population of Muslims (Sunni and Shia) and Christians (Maronite, Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic), as well as smaller communities of Druze and Jews.

Q: What is Sidon’s main challenge?

A: One of Sidon’s main challenges is dealing with the environmental impact of its waste management system. The city suffers from pollution and odors from its landfill site near the coast.

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