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Destination Details

The South, Lebanon

About 83 km south of Beirut, Tyre is the fourth largest city of Lebanon. It was an island in ages past, celebrated for its beauty.

Tyre emerges today from the debris of centuries. Excavations on the site have uncovered remains of the Crusader, Arab, Byzantine and Graeco-Roman cities.

Herodotus of Halicarnassus, "Father of History" visited Tyre during the 5th century B.C. and described the famous Temple of Melkart (Heracles). The priests of the city-god told him that the temple was built 2300 years previously when Tyre was founded, that is 2750 B.C.

The city of Tyre was particularly known for the production of a rare and extraordinarily expensive sort of purple dye, produced from the murex shellfish, known as Tyrian purple This color was, in many cultures of ancient times, reserved for the use of royalty, or at least nobility.

Tyre has a colorful souk (covered market) well worth exploring. Look for the Ottoman khan, or inn, just inside the market entrance. On a side street is the "Mamluke House", an Ottoman period residence that is being restored as a cultural heritage and information center by the General Directorate of Antiquities.

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