Sidon sea castle built by the Crusaders in 1228~ South Lebanon
Possibly the oldest and first metropolis of the Phoenicians, the ‘traders in purple’, the inventors of the first known alphabet from which all other alphabets were derived, inventors of the precious purple dye from the murex shell used for royal clothing, the founders of the kingship of city states called Canaan, Sidon is known to have been inhabited since early prehistory, since pre-pottery times. In Phoenician times and since around 2000 BC, it became the home of the priestess Ashtart, goddess of the Sidonians, and Eshmun, god of the Sidonians.
The very rich and complex Phoenician history in Lebanon is a fascinating area of research for Lebanese and international historians and archaeologists alike. So many civilizations were still to pass through and leave their marks and their scars on this little country, but the Phoenician culture is what resonates most where the Lebanese culture is concerned.
riders of the seas~ a detail of a ship carved in stone ~ Tyre, south Lebanon
Since very early childhood we find ourselves drawn to certain colors. We choose our clothes in those colors, we declare that color to be our favorite, we like to draw and write in shades of it and we realize from early on that color has a great influence in our lives. I remember growing up with a great sense of pride listening to the story of the first clothing dye having been brought to the world by the Phoenician grandfathers of my country. Tyrian purple (originating in Tyre, a harbor town in Lebanon) was a violet-purple dye derived from the shell of the Murex sea-snail, and was used to color garments of the Elite at that time in the whole region. And color is all around us inspiring us, influencing us, the charging red, the calming blue, the clarity inducing white, the appetizing orange…
As I have been drawn so much to sepia tones and black and white photography lately, I felt like posting a colorful shot today, the fresh juicy red pepper!
This is a bay of memories for me. I have spent every long summer there since my early childhood and have gone back to it every summer almost without fail (war events permitting). It is the place I caught my first starfish, the beach where we dove from ships into the water, the waters we went fishing in at sunrise, the waters I practiced water skiing and wind surfing on, the sea whose waters we children used to hide and play in till the early evening hours…yes, this place is a home of some sort. And the most special thing of all is its light. The evening light that tells stories to sailors and fishermen, the magical glow that bathes everything with a strange purple light.
photo taken: sunset at Beny Beach, Chekka, North Lebanon
“when it is dark enough, you can see the stars” ~ Persian proverb
So simple, so true. Light a candle in the sunlight and you see nothing, light it on a dark night and it can illuminate you way. On a very grey, hot, humid day in Shanghai, I was walking the streets as usual and everything looked dark, dull, colorless with a thick almost black blanket of clouds covering the city. Then I saw a flash of bright color, and it was this bed of flowers that looked like it was lit up, on fire! And life is like this too. Every dark age the human race went through produce a new renaissance of art and vision. Every hard time we go through is packaged with its own ‘light at the end of tunnel’ next stage.