Sidon, also known as Saida, has been under the rule of various empires and states. Ottoman Turks conquered the coastal city in the 16th century, which was a considerable step for controlling Mediterranean trade routes.
Built on a small island, Sidon castle is 30 km south of Beirut. Having survived many earthquakes and military attacks, the castle has stood the test of time.
The castle was used the early years of Ottoman rule in the city, however, after its strategic importance started to diminish, it was abandoned. By the 17th century, the castle was in ruins. However, it was soon renovated by the Ottomans and a mosque was built inside it. Today the castle has two towers. The columns, which reflect a Roman style, indicates the castle’s extensive history. The tower on the left is seemingly very well preserved and there is also a room inside it.
The other tower is mostly in ruins, but the mosque built in the Ottoman period was able to survive throughout the years. From the castle, visitors are able to enjoy an unprecedented view of both Sidon port and the city. Sidon’s old town easily rivals its counterparts across the region. Extraordinarily well preserved, the cool, winding streets of the souk retain their ancient origins while functioning as an actual market where locals still go to buy household goods.