February 13, 2016


Located on the southern coast of Lebanon, 83 km south of Beirut, the antique town of Tyre was the great  Phoenician city that reigned over the seas and founded prosperous colonies such as Cadiz and Carthage. Its name means "rock", after the rocky formation on which the town was built. Tyre was directly associated with several stages in the history of humanity, including the production of purple pigment, or the construction of the Temple of Solomon, thanks to the material and architect sent by the King Hiram.

From the 5th century BC, when Herodotus visited Tyre, it was built for the most part on an island reportedly impregnable, considered one of the oldest metropolises of the world, and according to tradition founded in 2750 B.C. Tyre succumbed to the attack of Alexander the Great who had blocked the straits by a dike. First a Greek city, and then a Roman city were constructed on this site, which is now a promontory. The historic role of Tyre declined at the end of the period of the Crusades.

The UNESCO site consists of two distinct parts: the town, on the headland, and the Necropolis of El Bass, on the continent. The site of the town comprises important archaeological vestiges, a great part of which is submerged. The most noteworthy structures are the vestiges of the Roman baths, the two palaestrae, the arena, the Roman colonnaded road, the residential quarter, as well as the ruins of the cathedral built in 1127 by the Venetians and the walls of the ancient Crusader castle.

The sector of Tyre El Bass, constituting the principal entrance of the town in antique times, comprises the remains of the necropolis, on either side of a wide monumental causeway dominated by a Roman triumphal arch dating from the 2nd century AD (reconstructed in modern times). Among the other vestiges are an aqueduct and the hippodrome of the 2nd century, the biggest and the most preserved of the Roman world, which once seated 20,000 spectators.

About the stamps
The stamps are part of a commemorative series about Lebanon’s cultural heritage, about which I wrote here.

Tyre - UNESCO official website

Sender: Wadih de Fayad (direct swap)
Sent from Baabda (Lebanon), on 31.10.2015

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