TRAVEL

The city in south Le­banon has been de­scribed as the one of the Mediter­ranean’s best kept se­crets, thanks to its stun­ning beaches and his­tor­i­cal ar­chi­tec­ture

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Head to beau­ti­ful Tyre in south­ern Le­banon

THE OLD SOUK

Sit­u­ated a stone’s throw from the Old City’s an­cient fish­ing port is its souk, a bustling, colour­ful and aro­matic af­fair filled with a hodge­podge of pro­duce. Fish­mon­gers and butch­ers trade side-by­side with mer­chants sell­ing every­thing from akkedineh (lo­quat) and janerik (sour green plums) to as­sort­ments of house­hold wares. Im­por­tantly, it is also home to Ot­toman pe­riod ar­chi­tec­ture and some of the best food in Tyre.

THE OLD CITY

Al­though much of mod­ern Tyre was de­stroyed dur­ing the Le­banese Civil War, the Old City – in par­tic­u­lar the Chris­tian quar­ter of Haret el Masi­hiyeh – re­mains a haven of nar­row cob­bled lanes, brightly coloured houses, court­yard gar­dens, bou­tique ho­tels and beau­ti­ful shut­tered win­dows. Tyre, called Sour in Ara­bic, is brim­ming with his­tory. The leg­endary birth­place of Dido, the first queen of Carthage, this an­cient Phoeni­cian city on the east­ern fringes of the Mediter­ranean ex­ists as much in the clas­si­cal imag­i­na­tion as it does in re­al­ity. The Per­sians, Alexan­der the Great, the Ro­mans and the Cru­saders have all been here and left their traces be­hind.

TYRE COAST NA­TURE RE­SERVE

For many, the most at­trac­tive part of Tyre’s coastal re­serve is its four-kilo­me­tre-long free public beach. Free beaches are an in­creas­ing rar­ity in Le­banon and this one is a golden beauty with wide ex­panses of sand and pop­u­lar beach-side restau­rants such as Cloud 59. At 380 hectares, the re­serve is pretty size­able and also en­com­passes the Old City, an agri­cul­tural and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal zone, and a con­ser­va­tion zone that in­cludes the Phoeni­cian springs of Ras El Ain.

Stun­ning views await you in Tyre

Chris­tian quar­ter

Old Souk

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