About Sidon Castle
Originally a thirteenth century Crusader fort, the Sea Castle of Sidon now stands as a picturesque ruin and popular visitor attraction in the city of Sidon, Lebanon. The crusader structure was largely destroyed by the Mamluks but the site was later rebuilt in the 17th century. Today the site offers visitors the opportunity to explore both the inner courtyard and the striking towers.
History of Sidon Castle
The city of Sidon is located on the Mediterranean coast of Lebanon, and throughout its history which dates as far back as 4000 BC, has been of great religious, political, and commercial value.
Sidon Sea Castle was built in 1228 AD by the Crusader Knights of St John of Hospital and Jerusalem. Built on a small island in the Port of Sidon, it was used as a fortress of the holy land, and was connected to the mainland by a narrow 80m long roadway.
The castle primarily consists of two towers connected by a wall. In the outer walls, Roman columns were used as horizontal reinforcements, which is not uncommon for fortifications built on or near former Roman sites. There is also a large vaulted room scattered with old carved capitals and rusted cannonballs.
Old illustrations of the castle reveal the true beauty of the once significant building, since both war and destruction by the Mamluks has left the castle in a state of half-ruin, and despite efforts to rebuild it in the 17th century, what remains today is sparse compared to the grandeur that Sidon Sea Castle would have once commanded.
It is possible that the island on which the castle is built was the location of the Phoenician King’s palace and several other Phoenician monuments which were destroyed by Esarhaddon and natural earthquakes. The castle has also served as a shelter from inside attacks on the city.
Sidon Castle Today
Today, visitors can walk around the castle for around £3 a visit. It is recommended that visitors enjoy the castle as part of a tour. There are beautiful views of Sidon and out to sea from the castle, and nearby, the many small restaurants allow visitors to satisfy their eyes and stomachs alike.
Getting to Sidon Castle
The castle is a 45 minute drive from Beirut along the beautiful coastline, via Route 51M. Within Sidon itself, the castle is reachable in around 20 minutes by foot, via the Rafic El Hariri and Courniche El Baher road, which takes you along the coastline and with a long view of the castle itself.
Lebanon Historic Sites
A small but densely populated Mediterranean country, Lebanon is the site of many historic sites that nod to the country's varied past. Here's our pick of 5 of the best.
Discover the most astonishing Crusader Castles which still survive today, from Krak des Chevaliers to Kerak and more.