was in its heyday a leading Phoenician city under King Hiram who reigned for 34 years and
during whose time Tyre colonized Sicily and North Africa while remaining the trade capital
of its time.
is associated principally with the Tyrean purple, the dye
from the murex sea-mussel which was so expensive
and rare that it was worn as a mark of imperial or royal
rank. It was also famed for its fine Phoenician glass industry, and the introduction
of the alphabet into Greece was attributed to Cadmus of Tyre.
Tyre knew a succession of invasions all of which left their
mark on the city. It suffered two long sieges, the first for thirteen years in the sixth
century B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, the other a seven-month siege by
Alexander the Great. Alexander was able to take the city finally only by joining the
island city with the mainland by a causeway which enabled his armies to scale Tyre's
Besides the ruins of the city itself, the tourist to Tyre should visit the Necropolis and
the Hippodrome which cove extensive areas on the other side of the modern town. The
Hippodrome, built in the second century A.D. and designed for chariot racing, was one of
the largest of the Roman period and is unique in that it was shaped in the form of a U and
could seat more than twenty thousand spectators.
The visitor to Tyre should plan on a full day to cover the historic sites of
the city. Those who have more time should take advantage of the modern
resthouse-motel situated on a expanse of sandy beach, and of the good swimming in that
stretch of the Mediterranean.