Tyre, Al-Bass, Arch of Hadrian

Tyre (Phoenician צר, ṣūr, "rock"; Greek Τύρος; Latin Tyrus): port in Phoenicia and one of the main cities in the eastern Mediterranean.

The honorific arch of Hadrian

The large arch in the Al-Bass area of Tyre was erected in the second century CE, probably for the emperor Hadrian, who visited the city in 130 or in 131. The monument is twenty-one meters high, and its core is made of sandstone, which used to be covered with plaster. A small fragment proves that the arch was once painted in all kinds of colors.

On both sides of the main arc were smaller gates for pedestrians. Nowadays, it is hard to imagine that above these smaller arcs used to be a wall, probably with niches for statues, that was as high as the central part.

On both sides were large rooms that must have served as guard room. The southern room was paved with normal stones, but in the northern room, the remains of a mosaic can still be seen. The presence of these guard rooms suggests that the large arch indicated the city's official outer border. It has also been suggested that the Large Arch marks the beginning of the Dam of Alexander, but nineteenth-century maps prov that this was a bit more to the south.

The road, which leads to the Tower of Hiram (a well in the city center), was repaved in the Byzantine age; the two levels are still visible near the arch.