Temple of Eshmoun, Sidon

3.3
Landmark · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The Temple of Eshmun (Arabic: معبد أشمون‎) is an ancient place of worship dedicated to Eshmun, the Phoenician god of healing. It is located near the Awali river, 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) northeast of Sidon in southwestern Lebanon. The site was occupied from the 7th century BC to the 8th century AD, suggesting an integrated relationship with the nearby city of Sidon. Although originally constructed by Sidonian king Eshmunazar II in the Achaemenid era (c. 529–333 BC) to celebrate the city's recovered wealth and stature, the temple complex was greatly expanded by Bodashtart, Yatan-milk and later monarchs. Because the continued expansion spanned many centuries of alternating independence and foreign hegemony, the sanctuary features a wealth of different architectural and decorative styles and influences.

The sanctuary consists of an esplanade and a grand court limited by a huge limestone terrace wall that supports a monumental podium which was once topped by Eshmun's Graeco-Persian style marble temple. The sanctuary features a series of ritual ablution basins fed by canals channeling water from the Asclepius river (modern Awali) and from the sacred "Ydll" spring; these installations were used for therapeutic and purificatory purposes that characterize the cult of Eshmun. The sanctuary site has yielded many artifacts of value, especially those inscribed with Phoenician texts, providing valuable insight into the site's history and that of ancient Sidon.

The Eshmun Temple was improved during the early Roman Empire with a colonnade street, but declined after earthquakes and fell into oblivion as Christianity replaced paganism and its large limestone blocks were used to build later structures. The temple site was rediscovered in 1900 by local treasure hunters who stirred the curiosity of international scholars. Maurice Dunand, a French archaeologist, thoroughly excavated the site from 1963 until the beginning of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975. After the end of the hostilities and the retreat of Israel from Southern Lebanon, the site was rehabilitated and inscribed to the World Heritage Site tentative list.
A visit to Temple of Eshmoun represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Sidon route maker site to plot your vacation.
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Temple of Eshmoun reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
15 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • In the past it was a religious centre of the region. Today we can admire small but beautiful ruins. Do not expect something as big or as spectacular as in Tyre or Baalbeck, it is much smaller, but at....  more »
  • There are many structures in this small ruin sight. Make sure you take a guide with you who can bring it to life. Climb atop the temple for an overview of the ruins. The perspective makes the site....  more »
  • We know about the Phoenician purple used in Roman togas and the seafaring prowess of this civilization but most of its history and culture is not studied very much. It was accordingly very nice to...  more »
Google
  • Free entry, nice and big space unfortunately there are no information panels about the space. There are no public toilets. You can park inside. It’s a quite big space with the ruins of the old temple dedicated to Eshmun, the Phoenician god of healing. It’s very easy to find.
  • Nice vibes. Free entrance. Impressive stone structures and healing energies. ⛮
  • Temple of Eshmun. Its beautiful but abandoned. It needs more awareness the story behind this temple blew my mind away. "Eshmun was the Phoenician god of healing and renewal of life; he was one of the most important divinities of the Phoenician pantheon and the main male divinity of Sidon." It needs more maintenance. I personally enjoy going there with new travellers. The entrance is free. Worth the visit.
  • A charming place. The most beautiful Phoenician sanctuary site in Lebanon.
  • Archaeological site that must be visited by tourists

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