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Tyre
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Tyre

Tyre, Lebanon.
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Tyre, Lebanon. Photo: Steven Damron.

Tyre, Lebanon.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Tyre, Lebanon.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Photo: David King.

City in Lebanon with 30,000 inhabitants (2003 estimate), in the Janub governorate, in the south of the country and on the coast facing the Mediterranean Sea.
Tyre was originally built on an island right off the coast, providing for natural defence. Many functions were established on the mainland as well, but all important institutions remained on the island. But from 332 BCE and on, a causeway was connected the island to the mainland, making it a peninsula.
Tyre was for centuries the strongest and most important Phoenician city, exercising control over the others from 10th century BCE and onwards. The city was famous for its silk products, and its purple dye extracted from the Murex snail.
The old harbour area has been excavated, but most of the Phoenician city lies under the modern city.

History
Around 2000 BCE: Tyre is founded on a small island and the neighbouring mainland, possibly by Phoenician merchants of Sidon.
14th century: Tyre develops into being the most important of the Phoenician trading posts, and surpasses Sidon.
10th century: Tyre grows into being politically the strongest of the cities, having an actual control over the other cities, as well as over common politics.
9th century: Merchants from Tyre establishes the trade colony of Carthage.
8th century: Comes under Assyrian control, together with the rest of the Phoenician cities.
585: A 13 year long siege starts under the command of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar 2.
538: Comes under control of Achaemenian kings of Persia.
332: After 7 months siege and as the last of the Phoenician cities, Tyre is conquered by the troops of the Macedonian king Alexander the Great. During this time, they build a causeway from the mainland to the island of Tyre, hence taking away the city's natural defence. 10,000 of the inhabitants were killed, and 30,000 more sold into slavery.
200: Becomes part of the Hellenistic Seleucid kingdom.
68: Passes over to Roman control.
2nd century CE: Tyre is reported to have a sizable Christian community.
638: Conquered by Arab Muslims.
1124: Conquered by Christian Crusaders.
1291: Conquered, and then destroyed by Muslim Mamluks. Tyre would never recover from this blow.
1516: Tyre comes, together with the rest of Lebanon, under Ottoman control.
1920: Comes together with the rest of Lebanon under control by a French mandate.
1946: Lebanon gains its independence.
2006 July: During the Israel-Lebanon Conflict 2006, Tyre is heavily bombarded by the Israelis.




By Tore Kjeilen