The pottery collected thanks to fortuitous discoveries, at the site of Péléotyros (The ancient Tyre), give evidence of a human occupation of the site in the fourth millennium BC.
As for the maritime city, historians agree with the approximate date proposed by Herodotus for the foundation of Tyre, namely 2750 BC. An archaeological survey in 1973 based the theories that go in this direction. Twenty-seven archaeological levels were identified, the oldest under the early third millennium.
Tyre developed very quickly in a climate of total independence and became, from the third millennium BC. an essential economic power. Its sailors, who venture offshore in any season, dominated the Mediterranean Sea.
During the period of pharaonic military campaigns between 1626 and 1200 BC, the Phoenicians of Tyre took advantage of periods of respite, even precarious, to resume their regular activities such as marine activity, architecture, crafts, trade, etc. We find a reflection of this dynamism in texts discovered at Ras Shamra Ougarit- dating from the thirteenth century BC.
After a regional disturbance due to the invasion of the Peoples of the Sea in 1200 BC, Tyr enters the great golden age of the Phoenician civilization by maintaining its dominance of the Mediterranean Sea.
In the eighth century BC, Tyre preserves its autonomy under the Assyrian empire despite the blockade on its aqueducts and remains one of the largest trade center in the Levant. But everything is going to tip over towards the end of VII ° BC under the Babylonian empire. The Tyrian monarchy is replaced by a government of judges under the control of the invaders.
During the first half of VI century BC, the Persians swept into the region in the conquest of Phoenicia and Egypt. The Phoenician cities, among which Tyre, buy their autonomy by supplying their maritime fleets to the new invaders, anxious to submit Egypt to their authority. Tyre rebuilds and strengthens its fortifications while developing its commercial and maritime activities as well as minting its own currency.
Tyre became so powerful that Alexander the Great said, in 332, that with the destruction of Tyre, the whole of Phoenicia would fall into his hands. He was forced to build a gigantic stone dike to connect the island of Tyre to the mainland. But the city will soon resume its role as the first Phoenician economic power.
Under the Pax Romana (64 BC - 313 BC) Tyre shines in all its glory. A thriving and very rich metropolis, it will be supplied with a racecourse, arenas, immense baths, a triumphal arch, an aqueduct on arch, etc. Its necropolis, sheltering hundreds of sarcophaguses of a remarkable beauty reflects this wealth and prosperity.
In the Byzantine period (313-633), Tyre improves its commercial situation and the proclamation of religious freedom will set ground for the first Christian basilica on its ground.
In 634 the Arabs made their entry in Tyre and made it one of their main bases. The city lost its autonomy but at the same time became "the port of Damascus".
From 1124, the beginning of the era of the Crusaders, Tyre regains importance and becomes a lordship including 93 villages. The Crusaders restore the city walls, where they built the imposing cathedral and redevelop the harbor that will serve as a point of attachment with their country of origin.
In 1291, the Kingdom of Jerusalem fell in the hands of the Mamluks. The city of Tyre, largely plundered, begins then a very long period of lethargy.
If life resumes shyly, the city remains far, very far from its magnificence of its past. It was certainly the biggest disappointment of Ernest Renan when he wrote in Mission de Phénicie “I don't know of a city that has played for centuries such a leading role and have left fewer tracks than Tyre… An unaware traveler could cross the space that extends from Kasmié to Ras el-Ain (approx. 10km) without suspecting that he is above a former city ".
Since the beginning of the XX ° century Tyre is the administrative and economic center of the region situated between the river of Litani and the south borders of the Lebanon. In less than three decades, its population doubled (from twenty five thousand to fifty thousand inhabitants). It’s the city’s first rise in several centuries.
Tyr needs a particular attention today so that she can exploit her real potential and occupy, in particular in the cultural and tourist domains, a special place, the place she actually deserves.
Tyre today needs help, particularly in the cultural and touristic domains, so it can take advantage of its exceptional place in history, a place it rightly deserves