Tyre (Hebrew Zor; Latin Tyrus) is an ancient Phoenician city in southern Lebanon, jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea. It is located about 23 miles north of Acre (Akko), and 20 miles south of Sidon. The modern city’s name is Sur.
Tyre has a long and illustrious history. In ancient times it was the most important city of the Phoenicians, amassing great wealth and power from the export of purple dye.
In the first century AD, Tyre was the home of a Christian community visited by St. Paul, and it became a major stronghold of the Crusaders in the 12th century. Today, Tyre (Sur) is the fourth largest city in Lebanon and is a popular stop for tourists due to its ancient ruins. It was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1984
What to See at Tyre:
Today, Tyre offers visitors an impressive array of excavated ancient ruins, which are spread across three separate archaeological areas. Sights include the remains of a Roman cemetery (necropolis) with several freestanding stone tombs, a Roman triumphal arch, bathhouse, aqueduct, and cardo (street), and a Byzantine mosaic floor from an ancient church.
Tyre’s hippodrome (arena for chariot racing), of which a significant amount survives, is unique in being built of stone instead of the more usual brick. It could seat 20,000 spectators.
Remains from other periods have also been unearthed at Tyre, including those from the Byzantine, Arab and Crusader eras, but it is the Roman ruins that are most numerous and impressive.
The sights of modern Tyre (Sur) include a colourful souk (market), a double-domed Shia mosque, and a Christian quarter that is the seat of the Maronite Bishop of Tyre and the Holy Land.
Near Tyre is the reported tomb of King Ahiram (Hiram) (970-936 BC), contemporary of King David, who sent cedar and craftsmen to help build King Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. It is located on the road to Qana El-Jaleel, 6 km southeast of Tyre.
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