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Summary Article: Saida
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Port in Lebanon, 40 km/25 mi south of Beirut; population (2008 calc) 57,800. It stands at the end of the Trans-Arabian oil pipeline from Saudi Arabia. Olive oil, oranges, and lemons are exported. Sidon was the chief city of Phoenicia, a bitter rival of Tyre about 1400–701 BC, when it was conquered by Sennacherib. Later a Roman city, it was taken by the Arabs in AD 637 and fought over during the Crusades.

Features There is abundant evidence of Sidon's ancient greatness: the squared blocks used in building the harbour: the rock-cut reservoirs; and the traces of walls, columns, etc. (For biblical references see Genesis x.19; Matthew xi.21, 22; and Acts xxvii.3.)

History In the earliest times Sidon was the leading city of the Phoenicians or, as they were alternatively known, the ‘Sidonians’. It was celebrated for its glass, purple dye, and wines; other activities were ornamental metal-working and the weaving of fabrics. Sidon is first mentioned in the Tel-el-Amarna tablets for the joint resistance of its prince Zimrida and the Amorites to the attempt of Egypt to conquer the seaboard. It later became a satellite of the Assyrian monarchs, one of whom, Esarhaddon, in subduing a revolt, utterly destroyed the city and built a new city on another site, calling it by his own name, Is-esarhaddon. The subsequent history of Sidon follows that of Phoenicia, but it remained throughout an important trading centre. It suffered heavily during the Crusades, but once more experienced prosperity under the Druze prince Fakr ed-Din (1595–1634), and again under Mehmet Ali (1832–40). Sidon, surrounded by Palestinian refugee camps, was severely damaged during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

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