In the south of Lebanon, 48 km from Beirut, one of the most authentic cities of the country of the Cedar is revealed. It is Saida, shaped by its small streets, its many souks, and its emblematic citadel, home to the Castle of the Sea. A fortress cradled by the waters of the Big Blue, from where you can admire the entire coast. A breathtaking site!
A castle between land and sea
The Castle of the Sea rises up to the Mediterranean through a stone pontoon. Connected to the port of Saida, this building was built in the 13th century by the crusaders as a defense post. Walking around it today, it is easy to imagine the atmosphere of the time. The tower of the keep, the guard room, and the loopholes (openings allowing the sending of projectiles) have remained almost intact! A fascinating resistance, all the more so as the stones used came from reused materials, having probably belonged to Phoenician temples.
Engravings from the beginning of the 19th century show that the Sea Castle was much larger, but the bombardment of the Austro-British fleet in 1840 damaged it. However, the present ruins restore all the history and beauty of the past. The magic of this place reaches its peak when you go to the roof of the medieval tower. There, a striking panorama of the whole coastline is drawn before our eyes.
Saida, a coastal city with an oriental flavor
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The Castle of the Sea is located in the coastal city of Saida, which is worth a visit! Opposite the fortress, the al-Mutran street leads to the traditional souks. One finds oneself immersed under the arcades, in a fragrant, colorful, and joyful atmosphere. The narrow streets are full of tapestries, small sweets, and goods of all kinds.
At the exit of the souks, the main street leads you to the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Nicolas. A heritage place of worship dating from the 8th century. Below the souks is the Soap Museum, which reveals the history of this cosmetic product and its manufacturing process. A magnificent museum, not to be missed, which values the local craftsmen and soaps of the region.