Distance from Beirut: 83km
From Beirut, take the autostrade
in the north direction, through Nahr El Kalb, Jounieh, Jbayl, Amchit, toward the
to Chekka, Amioun,
Known as the capital of the North, Tripoli (Trablos or Trablus in Arabic,
Tripoli ), 85
kilometers north of Beirut, has a special character all of its own.
by the three cities of Sidon, Tyre and Arados island during the Persian era,
it became the centre of a confederation, where Phoenicians met to debate
their important affairs. Since its foundation, probably in the 9th century
BC, until the end of the Crusader period, Tripoli was situated around the
Al-Mina port district. After its destruction by the Mamlukes in 1289,
however, it was replaced by a new town near the hill of the Crusader Castle
of Raymond de Saint-Gilles, founder of the County of Tripoli. The castle has
been renovated and changed many times during its history, most recently in
the early 19th century.
Modern Tripoli, which has a population of about 500,000, is
divided into two parts: El-Mina (the port area and site of the ancient city)
and the town of Tripoli proper. The medieval city at the foot of the
Crusader castle is where most of the historical sites are located.
Surrounding this is a modern metropolis which is occupied with commerce,
banking and recreation. The area known as "At-Tall", dominated by an Ottoman
clock tower (built in 1901/2) in the heart of down-town Tripoli, is the
transportation centre and terminus for most taxi routes. Thanks to its
historical wealth, relaxed lifestyle and thriving business climate, this is
a city where modern and medieval blend easily into a lively and hospitable
When shopping in the old Souks (markets) or downtown area,
remember that gold is a good buy. Other popular items are Tripoli's famous
sweets and traditional olive-oil based soap, water pipes and brass work.
Al-Mina is a good place to find seafood restaurants and fish markets. The
city's most comfortable hotels and Western-style restaurants can be found in
the beach resorts south of the city.
There are many historical places of interest in Tripoli.
Forty-five buildings in the city, many dating from the 14th century, have
been registered as historical sites. Twelve mosques from Mamluke and Ottoman
times have survived along with an equal number of madrassas or theological
schools. Secular buildings include the hammam or bathing-house which
followed the classical pattern of Roman Byzantine baths and the khans and
caravansary. The Souks, together with the khans, form an agglomeration of
various trades where tailors, jewelers, perfumers, tanners and soap-makers
work in surroundings that have changed very little over the last 500 years.
Overlooking the sea is the imposing Citadel of Tripoli known
as Qal'at Sinjil (Saint Gillers) which has been renovated and changed many
times during its history. Of further interest is The Great Mosque that was
completed in 1315. Its large courtyard is surrounded by porticos and a domed
and vaulted prayer hall. Inside one can still see elements of Western
architecture from the old church. Other interesting buildings include the
beautiful 14th century Burtasiyat Madrassa-Mosque, Hamman Al-Abed, Tripoli's
only functioning bathing-house and Khan Al-Khayyatin or Tailor's Khan, one
of the oldest in Tripoli
Just offshore is a string of small islands. The largest, known as the Island
of Palm Trees or Rabbit's Island, is now a nature reserve for green turtles
and rare birds. Declared a protected area by UNESCO in 1992, camping, fire
building or other depredation is forbidden. This Island also holds Roman and
Crusader remains. Qalamoun, south of Tripoli is known for its brass
industry. The roadside is lined with small workshops and showrooms where
brass bowls, candlesticks and other objects are hammered out in the old
Information From the Ministry of