Photo of the Week – Saida Souks

bras and underwear

This is one of my favorite photos I took in all of Lebanon. I love the red disco balls and the expression on her face while surrounded by panties and bras.

I traveled south of Beirut to the old city of Saida along the Mediteranean.  Luckily I had a personal tour guide in my friend Mark, a local friend I had made during my stay in Beirut.  We drove through the flooded streets of Beirut and an hour later when we arrived in Saida the sun came out and the rains stopped; Mother Nature must have known that I wanted to take lots of pictures in Saida and decided to cooperate.

The souks of Saida were some of the most impressive I had seen during my time in Lebanon.  The old souk had been refurbished recently and the stonework made me feel as if I were in Italy.  Narrow streets, pointed archways, shuttered homes made up the maze of the local souks.  Much like the Tripoli souks, this was not for tourists, it was filled with locals and clearly this is where locals shopped for food, furniture, clothes, home supplies, and fresh fruit and vegetables.

As Mark and I walked through the souks with our cameras everyone assumed that Mark was also a tourist like me; he played along and was amazed at the hospitality that visitors received.  Plus he was able to translate everything for me which was a real treat; finally I could understand what people were saying about me! We walked through the maze of alleys getting lost in dead ends and having locals invite us into their homes; as with the rest of Lebanon, everyone was eager to meet us and show off their hospitality.  Bakers gave us sweets, people invited us for tea, kids smiled, and the police men even waved at us.  Mark decided he loved being a tourist in his own country.

These photos depict the personality of the souks of Saida and the kind people we met.

To purchase any of these photos, click on the image for more information.

souk middle east

The dark souks are full of atmosphere

street games

Souk games...better than Nintendo

carpenter souk

The woodworking souk

candy apples

Sweets in the souks

Saida Lebanon

The Saida souks even come with parking!


Soap Souk


Fruit for sale in Saida

Saida Square

A 'town' square provides some open space for kids to play football and people to gather

dark stairway

A hidden stairway leads to family homes


I'm not sure what I like better, his carpentry work or his hat


Follow the winding nooks of the souks and you'll end up in people's homes

saida lebanon souk

These refurbished souks are full of character

To purchase any of these photos, click on the image for more information.

View all Saida Souk photography:

Your Comments

21 Comments so far

  1. Erin Smith says:

    Great photos. I especially like the first one too!

  2. Whoa! Quantum leap time. You’re shooting from a new angle and I love it. Everyone good photographer has a signature style and I think you just found yours. Spectacular!

  3. david says:

    hi sherry. i’m david. i’m australian and currently living in hcmc. i teach english here and my wife is vietnamese. i happened upon your website while surfing websites for info in hcmc. i like your site. it’s interesting. too bad you’ve left hcmc. i would have liked to meet you. you seem quite interesting. you interest me because you seem down-to-earth, friendly and different. i think i’m similar. i’ve also done some studies in psychology, and this has increased my interest and understanding of others. anyway, i just thought i’d say hi. cheers, dave

    • Sherry says:

      Hi David! Thanks so much for stopping by my site and leaving a comment! How’s HCMC these days? I bet is has changed a lot since I’ve been gone now 2 years! I do miss it at times…especially the food and the motorbikes! Go have cafe sua da for me!

  4. megan says:

    love these photos! especially the first one – brilliant!

    I saw so many men running similar (less colourful!) stalls in syrian souqs – it’s nice to see that in Lebanon, women can get their underwear from women 😀

  5. Jillian says:

    I was so surprised how colorful and decorative the women’s underwear was in Cairo. Way flashier than anything I’d ever buy. Just goes to show, don’t judge a book by it’s cover!

  6. Anil says:

    The top photo says so much; definitely another Middle Eastern contradiction :)

  7. Kelsey says:

    Great shots! The final one is my favourite.

  8. Some of your best shots yet. And that is saying a LOT.

  9. Deb says:

    Great shots Sherry! I know that you loved Lebanon and these photos really portray the character of the country. I wanna go now please!

  10. Angie Orth says:

    LOVE the soap picture! Beautiful detail.

  11. Angela says:

    Wonderful photo essay, so evocative of the place.

  12. Don Faust says:

    Nice photos! I really love street photography – you get so much more of a story about the place and lifestyles. Hey, I love landscapes too, but way too many travel bloggers do that, and not very well.

    In photo #1, at least you can say they dress colorfully underneath!

  13. Tobias says:

    great photos! Photo #1 is great! I love how you captured everyday life. I can almost smell the soap from just looking at the photo…

  14. Hi Sherry

    I am actually from Saida city – Lebanon, haven’t been there for a couple of years …. still these pictures truly capture the essence of traditionalism in my home town. at the end Saida (Saidon) is one of the oldest city’s in the world.
    simply love ur work … made me homesick =)

  15. Mr.Loto says:

    I’d like to try one of these candied apples.. :-)


  16. Katie says:

    Your pictures are beautiful and inspire the travel bug!

  17. Atallah Almaoui says:

    My name is Atallah Almaoui,I live in Phoenix Arizona,I was born and raised in Saida exactly where you took the photos.I have not been there for nearly forty years.These photos bring tears to my eyes and great childhood memories.My own family would not have done a better job sending me photos like these.
    Thank you for your hard work.
    May God ( Allah ) bless you.

    • Sherry says:

      Atallah – thanks so much for your kind comments. I’m happy I could bring you images of your home town. It was a very special place to me during my visit!

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