Spending two days in Tyre was a delight for me, not only because I got to see my friend who lives there, for two days, but because I was caught off guard by places that I had not expected.
The city is a port city, and the old area by the sea, the main port, had many interesting attractions. First, there was the large structure that the municipality had built, to allow the buying and selling of vegetables and fruits. Think, a modern-day farmer's market, only integrated into the urban fabric by this steel and wood structure. A very nice touch. Then the actual port had interesting features, such as the skeleton of a boat that was in the process of construction, and who could miss the locked display of "treasures from the sea", where you could buy Phoenician objects, coins, sculptures, even pharoah-like things that were supposedly "found at sea". ALL FAKE, do avoid, but still. entertaining. Dinner by that port was impeccable, at a casual dining place called Abu Tony, you can get fresh fish, fresh shrimps and the Lebanese salad Fattouch at a good price and of great savory taste! Being by the sea in the evening with the fresh breeze made the experience even more savory.
We spent the two days exploring the archaeological sties. There are three. One called Al Buss Archaeological (the largest one, with both Byzantine and Roman ruins), the one by the sea (with the columns and baths) and the one called the Crusaders archeological site because of the small Crusader structure in it. This one is on the mainland and enclosed, one cannot enter. No matter, the main issue at hand is the fact that much can be done to organize those sites and maintain them, if not for culture and heritage then at least for tourism! One advice: yes there are no gift shops in ANY of those sites, however make sure at the Al Buss site to ask at the entry gate for the available local book on Tyre. It's a small book, A5 size, but very informative and written by scholars who have researched Tyre, well illustrated too. It's not on display you have to ask for it. I got mine, (which they fetched from the storage) at the rate of $10 and worth it. There are a few maps in there as well, which you will not find anywhere else. Finally, get your photo taken by the lighthouse near Al Fanar, it has quite a character, this little structure. I would definitely recommend paying a visit to Tyre, if you're in Lebanon and are exploring the country. There should be more information on the web about what's there, but once you actually get there you will find there is much to see.
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