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Tyre


Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering.
Tyre (Phoenician רצ, ṣūr, "rock"; Greek Τρος; Latin Tyrus): port in Phoenicia and one of the main cities in the eastern Mediterranean.

History Photos Texts

Cemetery

Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering.
Hundreds of tombs
The archaeological site of Al-Bass is more or less at the beginning of Alexander's Dam. In other words, it lies directly east of the city, more or less halfway along the road to Al-Ma'shook hill. There is a straight road, leading out of Tyre, passing along the Hippodrome; after the Arch, when the traveler had left the city, he would pass along hundreds and hundreds of tombs. Along the road was aqueduct - and consequently, it comes as no surprise that there was a fountain as well.

Tyre, Al-Bass: aquaduct. Photo Jona Lendering.
Tyre, Al-Bass: cemetery road. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: cemetery road. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: cemetery road. Photo Jona Lendering.
Aquaduct.
Cemetery road.
Cemetery road.
Cemetery road.
Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering.
Family tomb.
Columbarium (second century CE).
Detail of a sarcophagus.
Tower tomb (first century CE).
Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering.
Sarcophagus: note the simplified garlands
The visitor will recognize several kinds of tombs. In the first place, the sarcophagi, usually made of Proconessian marble, imported from the Sea of Marmara. The sarcophagi were delivered in Tyre more or less unfinished; a local sculptor completed the decoration, which usually consisted of garlands and bull's heads. Often, they were rendered very simplified, because the details would be painted. Some sarcophagi were remarkably beautiful; they are now in the National Museum in Beyrut (more).

Tyre, Al-Bass: canal at the cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering.
Tyre, Al-Bass: church at the cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: church at the cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: church at the cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering.
Canal.
Church, entrance.
Church, apse.
Church, stairs.
Tyre, Al-Bass: church at the cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: mosaic. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: mosaic. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: nymphaeum. Photo Jona Lendering.
Church, general view.
Mosaic.
Mosaic.
Site of the nymphaeum.
Tyre, Al-Bass: temple of Apollo? Photo Jona Lendering.
Shrine of Apollo? (we were unable to locate it)
There were also family tombs, which could have a small kitchen for the funeral meals; tower tombs had two levels (the top level usually has disappeared); and in columbaria, the urns were placed of people who had been cremated.

Between all these tombs were several sanctuaries. There is a shrine, dedicated to the god Apollo, dating to the first century BCE. It appears to have been visited mostly by women. In Late Antiquity, it became a Christian place of worship, and it contains the oldest fresco of the Virgin Mary (early fifth century). There is also a small church, with many ancient mosaics.

Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering.
Sarcophagi Family tomb
Sarcophagi Sarcophagi
Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering.
Family tombs Sarcophagi
Sarcophagi Sarcophagus
Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering.
Sarcophagus Sarcophagi Tombs Sarcophagus
Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering. Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering.
Sarcophagi Sarcophagi Sarcophagi Sarcophagus
Tyre, Al-Bass: Cemetery. Photo Jona Lendering.
Sarcophagi
The road itself is remarkably free of the tracks of ancient carts. It was repaved in the Byzantine age; near the Great Arch, you can still see the two levels.

A satellite photo can be seen here.


History Photos Texts
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2012
Revision: 17 April 2013
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