As a Phoenician city, Tyre was so powerful that the Mediterranean Sea was then called the Tyrian Sea. For centuries its walls were deemed impregnable, but today it depends on its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site for protection.

Greek, Roman and Byzantine remains mingle in two archaeological sites open to visitors. One set of excavated ruins is on the old town's southern end—it used to be an island before Alexander the Great built a causeway to it. Centuries of silt filled in the rest. About half an hour's walk to the east is the other archaeological site, which includes a Roman necropolis, triumphal arch, aqueduct and the reconstructed Hippodrome (used in the film Ben Hur). The Tyre Festival (http://www.tyreinternationalfestival.com) is in July. Tyre is 50 mi/80 km south of Beirut.

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