Lebanon / Cities and Towns /
City in Lebanon with 50,000 inhabitants (est. 2002), the administrative centre of the Janub governorate, in the south of the country and on the coast facing the Mediterranean Sea. Sayda is often called "Sidon", a name dating back to Phoenician times.
Sayda's economy is based upon fishing, trade and agricultural products produced in the hinterland and sold through Sayda.
There is a large Christian Maronite community in the city, and many Palestinian refugees.
During its Phoenician heyday, the main products of Sidon were purple dyes and glassware. While being in competition with its neighbour Tyre 35 km southwest, Sidon was during long periods, the richest and most important of the Phoenician cities.
Sidon was mentioned several times, in Genesis 10:15 and 19, and in the Gospel of Mark 7:24-30.
Around 3000 BCE: Sidon is founded, and becomes the first and original of city of Phoenicia. From Sidon all other cities or colonies of Phoenicia stems.
539: Together with the other Phoenician city states, Sidon is conquered by the Persians. Sidon becomes an important city in the Persian Empire, providing it with the ships and seamen it needed to fight the Egyptians and Greeks.
5th century: The Persians build the Temple of the god Echmun in the royal park here, which became a very important centre for pilgrimage.
345: Persia attacks Sidon, after it tried to break with Persia a few years earlier. Sidon is severaly defeated. More than 40,000 inhabitants are supposed to have committed collective suicide rather than submitting to the arbitrariness of the Persian king Artaxerxes 3.
333: After the decimation, Sidon is unable to offer Alexander the Great any resistance as he takes control over the Lebanese coast.
200: Becomes part of the Hellenistic Seleucid kingdom.
64: Conquered by the Romans along with the rest of today's Lebanon and Syria. Gets the important status of republic.
330 CE: Emperor Constantine 1 of Rome takes away Sidon's status as republic.
667: Conquered by Muslim Arabs, and named Sayda.
1111: Conquered by the Christian Crusaders.
1187: Sayda surrenders to Saladin, and comes back under Muslim control.
1287: Recapture by the Crusaders.
1291: After troubles of keeping control of the city, the Templars who were in charge, abandons Sayda for good. It is now back under Muslim control.
6th century AD: Destroyed by an earthquake.
1516: Sayda comes, together with the rest of Lebanon, under Ottoman control.
17th century: Sayda comes under control of the Druze emir Fakhru d-Din, still as a dependency of the Ottoman Empire. Fakhru d-Din allowed international trade, bringing prosperity to the city, even if he chose to fill up the harbour of the city to hinder any attacks from the Ottomans.
1837: Another earthquake destroys the city, but it was quickly rebuilt.
1920: Comes together with the rest of Lebanon under control by a French mandate.
1946: Lebanon gains its independence.