Modern day fishing harbour Tyre City Lebanon
Tyre is an ancient Phoenician city and the legendary birthplace of Europa and Dido (Elissa). Today it is the fourth largest city in Lebanon and houses one of the nation's major ports. Tourism is a major industry. The city has a number of ancient sites, including its Roman Hippodrome which was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1979
The commerce of the ancient world was gathered into the warehouses of Tyre.
Tyrian merchants were the first who ventured to navigate the Mediterranean waters; and they founded their colonies on the coasts and neighbouring islands of the Aegean Sea, in Greece, on the northern coast of Africa, at Carthage and other places, in Sicily and Corsica, in Spain at Tartessus and even beyond the pillars of Hercules at Gadeira (Cádiz).
The city of Tyre was particularly known for the production of a rare and extraordinarily expensive sort of purple dye, produced from the murex shellfish, known as Tyrian purple. The colour was, in ancient cultures, reserved for the use of royalty or at least the nobility.
Tyre was often attacked by Egypt, besieged by Shalmaneser V, who was assisted by the Phoenicians of the mainland, for five years. From 586 until 573 BC, the city was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar II until it agreed to pay a tribute.
The Achaemenid Empire conquered the city in 539 BCE and kept it under its rule until Alexander the Great laid siege to the city, conquered and razed it in 332 BC. In 315 BCE, Alexander's former general Antigonus began his own siege of Tyre, taking the city a year later.
In 126 BC, Tyre regained its independence from the Seleucid Empire and was allowed to keep much of its independence, as a "civitas foederata",when the area became a Roman province in 64 BC. Tyre continued to maintain much of its commercial importance until the Common Era.