Lebanon / Places We Go

Sidon, Lebanon

The port city of Sidon is also commonly referred to as Saida…

saida

The city has a rich history stretching back possibly as far as 6800 BC. And this participation in historical events shows no sign of abating as even as recently as the Lebanese civil war, Sidon was fought over variously by the Palestinians, Syrians, Israelis, Hezbollah and the Shiite militia Amal.

We spent a night here at the Al-Qualaa Hotel as in order to obtain permission to visit the more interesting areas in the south of Lebanon, one must apply at the Lebanese military headquarters here in Sidon.

There isn’t much in the way of tourist attractions to recommend Sidon. It’s gritty and real which may be why I liked it.

Scenes of Sidon:

sidon

sidon

An indication of some of the diverse political sentiments that can be found not just in Sidon, but all across Lebanon:

sidon

sidon

sidon

It can be fascinating to wander around street markets and the souqs of Sidon proved to be no exception:

saida

saida

Everyone on this street sold shoes – it was a sea of shoes:

saida

Freshly slaughtered animals hung up to attract customers:

saida

The harbor of Sidon:

sidon

saida

There are guys that can be found lining the Sidon harbor who sell coffee from the back of mini-vans. Now, one might understandably be skeptical of the quality of this coffee, but my Italian who sets the bar very high when it comes to coffee standards declared the “mini-van coffee” to be among the best she experienced in Lebanon. The mini-van coffee vendors set out tables and chairs overlooking the harbor and it can be very pleasant to enjoy a coffee here and to watch the sun set over the harbor.

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6 thoughts on “Sidon, Lebanon

  1. From the Times…

    May 27, 2011
    Italian Peacekeepers Injured in Lebanon Bombing
    By NADA BAKRI

    BEIRUT — A roadside bomb targeted a United Nations convoy near a southern Lebanese port Friday, wounding several Italian peacekeepers and a Lebanese passerby in the first attack on the force in more than three years, Lebanese officials said.

    Italian defense officials said six of the country’s peacekeepers had been injured.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack on the United Nations forces, a longtime presence in southern Lebanon that was reinforced after the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite Muslim movement.

    But Lebanon’s weak government, ineffective military and combustible mix of political and sectarian forces with foreign paymasters, has often made it an arena for geopolitical vendettas. Many in Lebanon have been bracing for possible strife amid a nine-week uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that has led to increasing international pressure on him to institute democratic changes.

    The convoy was struck near Sidon, a predominantly Sunni Muslim city outside the control of Hezbollah. Officials there said four vehicles were heading from Beirut, the capital, to Naqoura, near the border with Lebanon and Israel. The bomb detonated beyond a Lebanese army checkpoint on a highway that runs along the Mediterranean.

    The last attack on United Nations forces in Lebanon was in January 2008, when a roadside bomb struck United Nations vehicles traveling along the same road south of Beirut, lightly wounding two peacekeepers. The deadliest attack in recent years was in 2007, when six peacekeepers were killed by a bomb that hit their armored personnel carriers near the fortified Israeli border.

    The United Nations peacekeeping force, known here by its acronym UNIFIL, was first deployed to southern Lebanon in 1978 after an Israeli invasion. The force now employees more than 12,000 military personnel under the command of a Spanish general. Italy has 2,500 soldiers in Lebanon.

    Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said in a statement on the ministry’s Web site that the Unifil mission provided “a decisive contribution to the stability of one of the most sensitive areas of the Middle East.” For that reason, he said, “Italy is close to its soldiers who offer proof of extraordinary professionalism and sense of duty.”

    Elisabetta Povoledo contributed reporting from Rome.

  2. On 26 July, five French soldiers were injured in a bomb attack targeting UN peacekeepers on a main road south of Saida. On 27 May, six Italian soldiers were injured in a similar attack just to the north of Saida.

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