Sidon

The old fortress stands lonely in the sea. She isn´t very impressive, neither by it´s size nor by it´s interieur, she hasn´t seen a renovation for some time. She is to be visitied over a small bridge, and it doesn´t take long to see everything she has to offer. Despide that, she is able to dominate the view of the city in a way that no other building is able to. It seems that she is simply ignoring all her failures while looking over the Mediterranean in full awareness of her old-based proud. Like Lebanon herself.

Sidon is based between Beirut and Tyros, like them an old harbour-city. Her arab name is Saida, which means something like „City of fishers“. Today, she is smaller than Beirut and Tyros, as Tripolis as well, and she is lacking the obstinacy of Zahlé or Baalbeek. There seems to be a tendency in many parts of her history to be a place of transition. The fortress was build by the crusaders as a port to their conquests in the holy land, just as Alexander the Great used it for his attacks on Tyros. The idea that Europe was kidnapped in this city and has been brought to the new continent seems to be an adaquat myth for Sidon.

Behind the fortress, alongside an endless water front, full of Restaurants, little fishing ports and beaches, you can find the souk. Whoever saw an arab souk before can probably imagine how it looks like. The other ones should try to see one whenever possible. It´s always full of people, sounds and smells, not always pretty, but always captured by a variety of impressions one can hardly find in Europe. Besides that, there is a turkish bath build in 1720, at the summit of the Osman Empire, which today´s use is that of a cultural facility which currently shows an exhibition of paintings of the bath itself as well as of Sidon. It´s hard to think about a more beautiful one in the country.

I meet an old man at the very last, when I was on my way to the bus already. He once has been a sailor who used to travel around the world and is now enjoying his life at this café. It´s cheap, the owner an old friend of him and the shisha is fine. Some coziness after a long travel.

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