The Harbor

The Sea Castle overlooks the north channel harbor, now used only for fishing boats, Fakhreddine having filled it in the 17th Century to deny entry to the Turkish fleet. The remains of the harbor do not go back beyond the Roman era.

In Phoenician times, the north channel harbor was the safest of the four harbors of Sidon. It was protected on the east by a line of natural reefs, and on the north by a mole built upon the rocky bottom to shelter it from the winds. Port facilities consisted of an inner harbor which protected the ships in winter and an outer harbor that was used in summer. An ingenious system of flushing to prevent silting attested to the superior technology of the Sidonian master-builders. The force of the waves was used to create a current of water f lowing from the outer basin into the inner basin, thence through an outlet into the sea. When the wind rose, filtere d water was forced through a channel into the inner basin, flushing the sandy sediment - accmulating there from the outer basin out through the narrow entrance, where another current carried the sediment seaward. Apparently this system was unique to Sidon, for it has not been observed in other Phoenician seaports.


al@mashriq                       960215/960304