5 weeks ago
Pita bread preparation in the southern lebanese city of saida, which has been inhabited on and off for ten thousand years. it was one of the most important phoenecian cities and also played a key role in the ancient history of egyptians, assyrians, ottomans, romans, babylonians, persians, greeks and so many others. the name saida (or sidon) loosely translates as “fishing village” due the importance of the sea to this coastal town. most of today’s inhabitants are fisherman, just as they have been for generations. it’s the third largest city in lebanon and along with a dizzying array of street food sold by vendors in the topsy-turvy souk, it has a rich and complex history that maps the story of the entire region since the very beginning of recorded time. jesus and st. paul are said to have visited, it’s mentioned by homer, the bible and in countless other texts. it was conquered by alexander the great who ushered in the hellenistic era in 333 bc and later fell to the romans. saida is famed for its talented wood workers (scored a gorgeous mortar and pestle!) and is potentially where glass blowing was invented. ancient citizens also extracted a vibrant purple dye (tyrion purple, named after the nearby city of tyre) from the murex shellfish to color textiles that were so expensive only royalty could afford them, hence the reason the color purple is associated with aristocracy. we only scratched the surface of this unforgettable place and can’t wait to return one day soon.