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SAIDA [Sidon, Saydā. Tsidon, Sayda, Saida]], PDF Print E-mail

Alternate names: Sidon [Eng, Fr], Saydā [Arab], Tsidon amd צִידוֹן [Heb], Sayda [Turk], Saïda. Arabic: صيدا. On the Mediterranean, in SW Lebanon, 25 miles S of Beirut. Third-largest city in Lebanon.


  • information [September 2002]
  • information about the cemetery with an accompanying story with photographs: "A few kilometers south of An-Nijmeh Square/Place d'?toile, downtown Sidon, lies the Jewish cemetery on a small hill supposedly overlooking the ever blue Mediterranean. On the western side, the cemetery is in very bad shape, the hill is sinking; and some of the graves have actually tilted. Unfortunately, the cemetery is right next to the biggest dump in south Lebanon. A 100-feet high mountain of garbage on the southern coast of Sidon, by all means an environmental catastrophe. The Sidon Municipality has had enough pressure and scandals from the media I presume, so they have guards there preventing anyone from taking photos. They stopped me from taking the photos of the tilting side of the cemetery or from entering it from that side. I tried to explain I was after the cemetery and had no interest in the dump, to no avail. Eventually, I had to sneak from the other side of the cemetery, and climb the dusty hill, in broad daylight, which seems the best time to sneak anywhere without raising suspicion! There is no "entrance" per se for the cemetery. I recall there used to be a sign with Hebrew letters marking the cemetery, but that was removed. I think this is some sort of "hiding" the place to protect it from vandals. Many of the inscriptions that only have Hebrew letters are broken, but those that have Arabic writing and Hebrew letters are left intact! I believe that there is more than a coincidence to this. I got to know that last year the place was cleaned by the municipality, the weeds, trees, etc, seem reasonably within control for a deserted graveyard." [February 2008]
  • "What remains today, if the cemetery is any indication, is a sorry legacy. The cemetery sits on a sandy dune alongside a busy roadway and across the street from the main (and massive) landfill for the city of Saida, which adds little by way of ambiance.Meanwhile, an impenetrable fortress of thick and sharp thorn bushes has grown throughout the cemetery, making walking into the place virtually impossible, and enveloping the tombs with prickly spears. Many of the tombstones themselves have been toppled over, and in some cases scavengers have shattered them to get at the inscribed marble contained within. Article and photos. [August 2009]  [August 2009]
  • The abandoned cemetery is threatened by coastal erosion [January 2010]
  • "An anonymous donor of Lebanese-Jewish extraction, now living in New York, is funding the restoration of the Jewish cemetery in the city of Sidon. Tamar Pileggi writes:The cemetery is located on the outskirts of the coastal city and is home to over 300 tombs scattered over 20,000 square meters, with some dating back to the 18th century. . . . Nagi Zeidan, a Lebanese Christian historian writing a book on the Jews of Lebanon, says he is leading restoration efforts on the donor's behalf. . . .According to Zeidan, the cemetery first fell into disrepair during the country's fifteen-year civil war, when fighting gripped the southern coastal area. . . . He says the last known burial at the Sidon cemetery is dated 1985. . . . The community numbered more than 1,000 in 1956. . . . Jews left Lebanon steadily for Israel, Brazil, Europe, and the United States, but the community's real exodus began after the 1967 Six-Day War. Source. [Sept 2015]


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