5 things to do in and around Tyre
Lebanon’s historic southern city is well known for its impressive ruins and long stretch of sandy beach, but there is so much more to see. LT reveals five alternative things to do in the Tyre region this summer
Glass blowing heritage
On your way down South, make a stop at the ancient town of Sarafand, located about halfway on the road between Saida and Tyre. Archeological excavations in Sarafand, show the town was once an important center of industr y with evidence of glass and porcelain production, and the tradition of glass blowing continuing to this day. And r ight next to the remains of old potter y kilns and workshops is the Sarafand Glass Factor y (03 906091, Sarafand) of the Khalife family – where father, brother, son and daughter still produce blown-glass items today. Only a few years ago the workshop was at r isk of closing, with the competition of cheap China-made glass imports and declining numbers of foreign tour ists to Lebanon taking a hit on the business. But af ter the Green Glass Recycling Initiative ggrilebanon) par tnered up with them to recycle the waste beer bottles that usually end their life in landfills, business is now booming. “Just two years ago we would only open for work a few days a month. But af ter getting a contract with Almaza a few months ago we became so busy, working almost 24 hours a day,” says Rima Khalife, a member of the family business. “They make seven million bottles of rubbish a year and we recycle the glass and make glasses from it. For ever y eight bottles of waste, we make one recycled glass.” At the workshop you can see firsthand the glassblowing tradition in process. Afterwards stop by the small shop, where they sell their ar tisan products – from bowls, vases and glasses to chandeliers and lamps.