Tripoli

Tripoli Lebanon, lebanese cities, north of lebanon, Rabbit’s Island,Citadel of Tripoli
Admin 10-05-2015
 
Tripoli (Trablos)
Lebanon’s second largest city lies 85 km north of Beirut.  It has a special character where modern and medieval blend easily into a lively and hospitable metropolis. Known as the capital of the north.
 
Tripoli's History
Tripoli goes back to at least the 14th century B.C. but it wasn’t until about the 9th century B.C. that the Phoenicians established a small trading station there. Built on the trade and invasion route near the Abu Ali River, Tripoli’s strategic position was enhanced by offshore, natural ports and access to the interior.

Under Roman rule, the city flourished and the Romans built several monuments there. The Byzantine city of Tripoli, was destroyed by an earthquake and tidal wave in 551. After 635, Tripoli became a commercial and shipbuilding center under the Omayyads.
 
During the long Turkish Ottoman rule (1516-1918) Tripoli retained its prosperity and commercial importance and in these years more buildings were added to the city’s architectural wealth.
 
Selected Sites in Tripoli:
  • The Citadel of Tripoli overlooking the city, also known as (Saint Gilles), has been renovated and changed many times during its history. Today the castle’s main features are an octagonal Fatimid construction converted to a church by the Crusaders. some Crusader structures of the 12th-13th centuries, a number of 14th century Mamluke additions, as well as additions made by Ottomans in the 16th century.
  • Chruch of St. john of the Pilgrims Mount, significant remains of this Crusader church were found in the Maronite Cemetery of Saint John.  The church was surrounded by large Crusader cemetery.
  • The Great Mosque, begun construction in 1294 and was completed in 1315. The Great Mosque was built on the ruined 12th century Crusader cathedral of St. Mary of the Tower. The many foundation plaques and decrees inscribed in the Great Mosque and its surrounding madrassas not only inform us about the building but reveal details of the daily life of the Mamluke period. 
  • Taynal Mosque was built in 1336 by Saif ed-Din Taynal on the site of a ruined Crusader Carmelite church. Some elements of the original structure were re-used in the mosque, for example, the two rows of granite columns with late Roman capitals which stand in the middle of the first prayer hall, is a unique example of the architecture decoration in Tripoli during the Mamluke era.
  • AL-Muallag Mosque, the name means, “hanging mosque” possibly because it is on the second floor. Built in the middle of the 16th century, has a plain whitewashed interior with steps leading down to an attractive courtyard garden. 
  • The beautiful Burtasiyat Madrassa Mosque was built during the first quarter of the 14th century A.D.
  • AL-Qartawiyat-Madraasa is known for the fine workmanship of its ceilings decorated with honey-comb patterns and stalactites, and its elegant façade of alternate black and white facing. Built during the 14th century A.D.
  • Madrassa al Tuwashiyat, built during the second half of the 15th century, this structure and its elaborate mausoleum are constructed of sandstone in decorative black and white patterns.
  • Khanqah is a unique building in Lebanon and was constructed during the second half of the 15th century to house Muslim mystics or Sufis. It is designed with an open courtyard and pool.
  • Hammam Izz ed-Dine is a public bathing-house and was given to the city by its Mamluke governor Izz ed-Dine Aybak. In building these baths, he used remains from the Crusader church and hospice of Saint James. The front portal is decorated with an inscribed fragment between two Saint James shells. The Hammam was in continual use until recently and it's now under restoration.
  • Tripoli’s only functioning hammam (public bath) is Hammam el-Abed, probably built at the end of the 17th century. It has the typical pierced domes of Mamluke and Ottoman era public bath. The interior, with its cushions, central fountain and traditional fittings, is a living museum. 
  • Hammam al-Jadid was built around 1740, and literally means  “The New Bath”.This bath is by far the largest hammam in the city.
  • Khan Al-Khayyatin or Tailor’s Khan, is one of the oldest in Tripoli, dating to the first half of the 14th century. It was probably built on the remains of a Byzantine and Crusader monument in the center of the ancient commercial suburb, this khan has a different plan than the others in the city. The restored structure consists of a long passageway with tall arches on each side and ten transverse arches. 
  • The Khan Al-Masriyyin (Caravansary of the Egyptians) was probably built in the first half of the 14th century. The traditional arcaded  two-story khan has an open courtyard with a fountain in the center.
  • Souk Al-Haraj, a unique sight, this covered 14th century bazaar has a high vaulted ceiling supported by granite columns which may have originally been part of Roman or Crusader structures.
  • Lions’ Tower, the mid-15th century Tower of the Lions is still remarkably preserved.The tower is actually a fortress two stories high with lofty vaulted ceilings. The west portal is in the typical Mamluke black and white stone pattern. From the outside you can see how the builders placed Roman columns horizontally in the walls as reinforcements.
 Modern-day Tripoli
 
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 “al-Tall” dominated by an Ottoman clock tower (built in 1901/2) in the heart of down-town Tripoli, is the transportation center and terminus for most taxi routes. The city’s most comfortable hotels and Western-style restaurants can be found in the beach resorts south of the city.
 
Tripoly Internaltion Fair
 
Tripoli has a permanent fairground designed by the famous brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer. Here important exhibitions, trade fairs and other events regularly take place.
 
 Offshore Islands
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 workshop and showrooms where brass bowls, candlestick and other objects are hammered out in the old tradition.   

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