Usually, when someone in Lebanon says "we’re going to our day3a for the weekend" people assume the village is a remote little town of farmers and with no technology and modern amenities. However, there are some villages in Lebanon that possess all the features and amenities of a city by definition, but we still call them villages and towns. Tyre in the South of Lebanon is one of them. It offers the ancient and the new, which makes it an enjoyable place to spend the day or the weekend, if not more.
Tyre, also still known by its Phoenician name Sour (𐤑𐤓 Ṣūr), is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. It is one of six largest cities in Lebanon, along with Beirut, Tripoli, Sidon, Nabatieh, and Aley, and holds one of our country's major ports. Not really a village after all.
Here’s a brief history lesson for you: Tyre was originally built on an island of rocky formation, hence the name Tyre, meaning Rock, and its people came to be known as the Tyrians. It is the legendary birthplace of Europa, daughter of the Phoenician King Kadmus, and after which the continent of Europe was named.
Initially, Tyre was formed of two different urban centers, the island and its associated mainland settlement of Ushu. That changed after the siege of the city by Alexander the Great who went on connecting them with a causeway.
The beautiful coastal city of Tyre is located at 80 km from Beirut, and encompasses one of the most beautiful beaches of Lebanon and, as per National Geographic, in the Middle East. The city has many special features that make it one of the most sought out destinations by the Lebanese but also the tourists for its historical culture and ancient sites.
So, if you are planning to tour the city, start your day with the impressive historical sites that this remarkable city offers. Tyre's Hippodrome is for the Lebanese like the roman coliseum of the Italians. It is said to have been designed to hold 40,000 people at each event. UNESCO has it on its list of World Heritage Sites since 1979, among 4 other Lebanese ancient sites.
After visiting the Hippodrome, make your way to Al Mina ruins, another historical architectural piece that shouldn’t be missed. It is located 5 minutes away from the Hippodrome. The Al Mina ruins were constructed in the 3rd century, so you can imagine how priceless it is to the Lebanese people. Thre is at least 10 touristic places you must visit in Tyre while there so take your time to note them down and plan accordingly.
Take a leisurely walk through the picturesque alleys and streets of the city. There are plenty of good restaurants and coffee shops where you can rest while enjoying the view of the city around.
Plan your day with enough time to enjoy the beautiful beach of Tyre. It's public and accessible to all. Find your tent of preference, and enjoy the blue beach and white sands that make you feel like you’re somewhere in the Caribbean.
This city has always been a favorite of the Lebanese icon Julia Boutrous. Every two years, her concert in Tyre becomes the most sought out of the region and beyond, as she performs live to her countless fans from all around Lebanon.
So, if you are planning a weekend in Tyre, look up for her concerts' schedule. You might get lucky if her Tyre concert coincides with your trip. Book ahead of time for her concerts are known to get sold out in no time. Last year, she had to add an extra concert night because her tickets were sold out within 24 hours.
Tyre is far from being a village. It’s been built and rebuilt multiple times and has access to all facilities just like Beirut. This gem of a city is not to be missed for anyone playing tourist in their own country or for anyone coming from abroad.