Not far from the Sea Castle, a short distance from the wharf, is the picturesque old vaulted souk of Sidon which dates back to an age when most inhabitants dwelt in the area between the city walls and the harbor and Khan el Franj, one of the many khans built by Fakhreddine ll during his reign to accommodate merchants and goods. Here as elsewhere the khan was traditionally a large rectangular courtyard with a central fountain, surrounded by covered galleries.
Entrance to the khan is through a small postern cut in the nail-studded main gate. Beyond is a cloistered court around which were the shops and dwelling places for traders. The khan (from the Persian word for “inn”) was the center of economic activity for the city. Later, in the 19th Century, Sidon’s khan housed the French consulate, a school, a convent, an inn and a small museum displaying local artifacts.