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Tripoli Lebanon

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Tripoli Lebanon

Post by Jalloul Lebanon on 19.03.12 15:47


As soon as you catch sight of the city, you cannot help
but dream of the 'Arabian Nights'. Erected next to a cliff, Tripoli’s old town
is an entanglement of alleys. The jewelers' souk, as well as the joiners and
tailors shops, lay amid buildings of traditional architecture and sparkling

Tripoli has numerous religious edifices. Many mosques are
worth visiting. The finest building of this medieval city is the Saint Gilles’
Citadel. Well preserved, it offers a grandiose view of the area.

Separate from the old town, a few meters away from the
coast, you will discover the Lions’ Tower; considered important vestige of the
Mameluke epoch.

Tripoli (Standard Arabic:
طرابلس Ṭarābulus, and Arabic: طَرَابُلُسTrâblous, Greek: Τρίπολις Tripolis) is a city in Lebanon. Situated
north of Batroun and the cape of Lithoprosopon, Tripoli is the capital of the
North Governorate and the Tripoli District (in Lebanon the districts are
subunits of governorates). The city is located 85 km north of the capital
Beirut, and is the easternmost port of Lebanon.

In ancient times, it was the center of a Phoenician
confederation which included Tyre, Sidon and Arados, hence the name Tripoli,
meaning "triple city" in Greek. Later, it was controlled successively by the
Assyrian Empire, Persian Empire, Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the
Caliphate, the Seljuk Empire, Crusader States, the Mamluks, the Ottoman Empire
and France. The Crusaders established the County of Tripoli there in the twelfth

Tripoli is today the second-largest city and
second-largest port in Lebanon, with approximately 500,000 inhabitants,
overwhelmingly Sunni Muslims (approximately 80%), along with a small minority of
Orthodox and Maronite Christians, and a small minority of Alawite

The city borders El Mina, the port of the Tripoli
District, which it is geographically conjoined with to form the greater Tripoli

Just offshore is a string of four small islands, the only
islands of Lebanon. The largest, known as the island of Palm trees or Rabbits’
Island (جزرة الارانب), 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

and etymology

Tripoli had a number of different names
as far back as the Phoenician age. In the Amarna letters the name "Derbly" was
mentioned, and in other places "Ahlia" or "Wahlia" are mentioned (14th century
BC). In an engraving concerning the invasion of Tripoli by the Assyrian King
Ashurnasirpal II (888-859 BC), it is called Mahallata or Mahlata, Mayza, and

Under the Phoenicians, the name Athar was used to refer
to Tripoli. When the Greeks settled in the city they called it "Tripoli",
meaning "three cities". The Arabs called it a variety of names, including the
Princedom of Tripoli, the State of Tripoli, and the Eastern Tripoli Kingdom. In
addition, the names Tarabulus, or Atrabulus, and Tarablus al-Sham, were used.
The Crusaders settled in Tripoli for about 180 years and made it the capital of
the County of Tripoli. The city was also simply named "Triple".

Today, Tripoli is also known as Al-Fayha'a, derived from
the Arabic verb Faha which is used to indicate the spread of a certain smell.
Tripoli was best known for its vast orange orchards. During the season of
blooming, the pollen of orange flowers is carried on the air, creating a
splendid perfume which fills the city and suburbs, hence the name


There is evidence of settlement in
Tripoli that dates back as early as 1400 BC. In the 9th century BC, the
Phoenicians established a trading station in Tripoli and later, under Persian
rule, the city became the center of a confederation of the Phoenician city
states of Sidon, Tyre, and Arados Island. Under Hellenistic rule, Tripoli was
used as a naval shipyard and the city enjoyed a period of autonomy. It came
under Roman rule around 64 BC. In 551, an earthquake and tidal wave destroyed
the Byzantine city of Tripoli along with other Mediterranean coastal

During Umayyad rule, Tripoli became a commercial and
shipbuilding center. It achieved semi-independence under Fatimid rule, when it
developed into a center of learning. The Crusaders laid siege to the city at the
beginning of the 12th century and were able finally to enter it in 1109. This
caused extensive destruction, including the burning of Tripoli's famous library,
Dar al-Ilm (House of Knowledge), with its thousands of volumes. During the
Crusaders' rule the city became the capital of the County of Tripoli. In 1289,
it fell to the Mamluks and the old port part of the city was destroyed. A new
inland city was then built near the old castle. During Ottoman rule from 1516 to
1918, it retained its prosperity and commercial importance. Tripoli and all of
Lebanon was under French mandate from 1920 until 1943, when Lebanon achieved

Prehistoric Tripoli (Before the 7th Century

Many historians deny the presence of
any Phoenician civilization in Tripoli before the 8th (or sometimes 4th) century
BC. However, a careful investigation of the sequence of Phoenician port
establishments on the Lebanese coast will realize a north-to-south gradient,
thus, indicating an earlier age for the Phoenician Tripoli. As well, the
Phoenicians generally preferred cities that had islands in front of them, as is
the case with Tripoli. In addition, the proximity of the Kadisha (Abou Ali)
river would have been a strong draw to the area.

Tripoli has not been extensively excavated because the
ancient site lies buried beneath the modern city of El Mina. However, a few
accidental finds are now in museums. Excavations in El Mina revealed skeletal
remains of ancient wolves, eels, and gazelles, part of the ancient southern port
quay, grinding mills, different types of columns, wheels, Bows, and a necropolis
from the end of the Hellenistic period. A sounding made in the Crusader castle
uncovered Late Bronze Age, Iron Age, in addition to Roman, Byzantine, and
Fatimid remains. At the Abou Halka area (at the southern entrance of Tripoli)
refuges dating to the early (30,000 years old) and middle Stone Age were

Persian Tripoli (6th to 4th Century BC)

Tripoli became a financial center and
main port of northern Phoenicia with sea trade (East Medditerranean and the
West), and caravan trade (North Syria and hinterland).

Hellenic Tripoli (312/311 - 64 BC)

Under the Seleucids, Tripoli gained the right to mint its
own coins (112 BC); it was granted autonomy between 104 and 105, which it
retained until 64 BC. At the time, Tripoli was a center of shipbuilding and
cedar timber trade (like other Phoenician cities).

Roman and Byzantine Tripoli (64 BC - to 7th Century

During this period, Tripoli witnessed the construction of
important public buildings including municipal stadium or gymnasium due to
strategic position of the city midway on the imperial coastal highway leading
from Antioch to Ptolemais. In addition, Tripoli retained the same configuration
of three distinct and administratively independent quarters (Aradians,
Sidonians, and Tyrians). The territory outside the city was divided between the
three quarters.

Arab Tripoli (645/646 to 1109 AD)

Tripoli gained in importance as a trading centre for the
whole Mediterranean after it was inhabited by the Arabs. Tripoli was the port
city of Damascus; second military port of the Arab navy after Alexandria;
prosperous commercial and shipbuilding center; wealthy principality under the
Banu Ammar emirs. During a visit for the traveler Nasir-i-Khusrau in 1047, he
estimated the size of the population in Tripoli to be around 20,000. Legally,
Tripoli was part of the jurisdiction of the military province of Damascus (Jund

Crusader Tripoli (1109-1289 AD)

The city became the chief town of the County of Tripoli
(Latin Crusader state of the Levant) extending from Jubayl to Latakia and
including the plain of Akkar with the famous Krak des Chevaliers. Tripoli was
also the seat of a bishopric. Tripoli was home to a busy port and was a major
center of silk weaving, with as many as 4,000 looms. Important products of the
time included lemons, oranges, and sugar cane. It is curious to reflect that for
180 years, during the French rule, Langue d'Oc, the language of Provence, was
spoken in Tripoli and a neighbouring village, owing to the influence of a number
of Provençal nobles and courtiers who came here. At that time, Tripoli had a
heterogeneous population including Western Europeans, Greeks, Armenians,
Maronites, Nestorians, Jews, and Muslims

During the Crusade period, Tripoli
witnessed the growth of the inland settlement surrounding the "Pilgrim's
Mountain" (the citadel) into a built-up suburb including the main religious
monuments of the city such as: The "Church of the Holy Sepulchre of Pilgrim's
Mountain" (incorporating the Shiite shrine), the Church of Saint Mary's of the
Tower, and the Carmelite Church. The state was a major base of operations for
the military order of the Knights Hospitaller, who occupied the famous castle
Krak Des Chevaliers (today a UNESCO world heritage site). The state ceased to
exist in 1289, when it was captured by the Egyptian Mamluk sultan

Mamluk Tripoli (14th Century AD)

During the Mamluk period, Tripoli
became a central city and provincial capital of the Mamlakah or kingdom (one of
six in Mamluk Syria). Tripoli ranked third after Aleppo and Damascus. The
kingdom was subdivided into six willayahs or provinces and extended from Jubayl
and Aqra mountains south, to Latakia and al Alawiyyin mountains north. It also
included al-Hermel, the plain of Akkar, and Hosn al-Akrad (Krak des

Tripoli became a major trading port of Syria supplying
Europe with candy, loaf and powdered sugar (especially during the latter part of
the 14th century). The main products from agriculture and small industry
included citrus fruits, olive oil, soap, and textile (cotton and silk,
especially velvet).

The Mamluks formed the ruling class holding main
political, military and administrative functions. Arabs formed the population
base (religious, industrial, and commercial functions) and the general
population included the original inhabitants of the city, immigrants from
different parts of Syria, North Africans who accompanied Qalawun's army during
the liberation of Tripoli, eastern Christians, some Western families, and a
minority of Jews. The population size of Mamluk Tripoli is estimated at
20,000-40,000; against 100,000 in each of Damascus and Aleppo.

Mamluk Tripoli witnessed a high rate of urban growth and
a fast city development (according to traveler's accounts). It also had poles of
growth including the fortress, the Grand Mosque, and the river banks. The city
had seven guard towers on the harbor site to defend the inland city. During the
period the castle of Saint Gilles was expanded as the Citadel of Mamluk Tripoli.
The "Aqueduct of the Prince" was reused to bring water from the Rash'in spring.
Several bridges were constructed and the surrounding orchards expanded through
marsh drainage. Fresh water was supplied to houses from their roofs.

The urban form of Mamluk Tripoli was dictated mainly by
climate, site configuration, defense, and urban aesthetics. The layout of major
thoroughfares was set according to prevailing winds and topography. The city had
no fortifications, but heavy building construction characterized by compact
urban forms, narrow and winding streets for difficult city penetration.
Residential areas were bridged over streets at strategic points for surveillance
and defense. The city also included many loopholes and narrow slits at street

The religious and secular buildings of Mamluk Tripoli
comprise a fine example of the architecture of that time. The oldest among them
were built with stones taken from 12th and 13th Century churches; the
characteristics of the architecture of the period are best seen in the mosques
and madrassas, the Islamic schools. It is the madrassas which most attract
attention, for they include highly original structures as well as decoration:
here a honeycombed ceiling, there a curiously shaped corniche, doorway or
moulded window frame. Among the finest is the madrassa al-Burtasiyah, with an
elegant facade picked out in black and white stones and a highly decorated
lintel over the main door.

Public buildings in Mamluk Tripoli were
emphasized through sitting, facade treatment, and street alignment. Well-cut and
well-dressed stones (local sandstone) were used as media of construction and for
decorative effects on elevations and around openings (Ablaq technique of
alternating light and dark stone courses). Bearing walls were used as vertical
supports. Cross vaults covered most spaces from prayer halls to closed
rectangular rooms, to galleries around courtyards. Domes were constructed over
conspicuous and important spaces like tomb chambers, mihrab, and covered
courtyards. Typical construction details in Mamluk Tripoli included cross vaults
with concave grooves meeting in octagonal openings or concave rosette as well as
simple cupolas or ribbed domes. The use of double drums and corner squinches was
commonly used to make transition from square rooms to round domes.

Decorations in Mamluk buildings concentrated on the most
conspicuous areas of buildings: minarets, portals, windows, on the outside, and
mihrab, qiblah wall, and floor on the inside. Decorations at the time may be
subdivided into structural decoration (found outside the buildings and
incorporate the medium of construction itself such as ablaq walls, plain or
zigzag moldings, fishscale motifs, joggled lintels or voussoirs, inscriptions,
and muqarnas) and applied decoration (found inside the buildings and include the
use of marble marquetry, stucco, and glass mosaic).

Mosques evenly spread with major concentration of
madrasas around the Grand Mosque. All khans were located in the northern part of
the city for easy accessibility from roads to Syria. Hammams (public baths) were
carefully located to serve major population concentrations: one next to the
Grand Mosque, the other in the center of the commercial district, and the third
in the right-bank settlement.

Major buildings in Mamluk Tripoli
included six congregational mosques (The Mansouri Great Mosque, al-Aattar,
Taynal, al-Uwaysiyat, al-Burtasi, and al-Tawbat Mosques). In addition, there
were two quarter masjids (Abd al-Wahed and Arghoun Shah), and two mosques that
were built on empty land (al-Burtasiah and al-Uwaysiyah). Other mosques
incorporated earlier structures (churches, khans, shops, ...). One of the most
beautiful mosques is the Taynal mosque, whose quiet design, splendid minaret and
different cupolas make it one of the most interesting sights in the city. Mamluk
Tripoli also included 16 madrasas of which four no longer exist (al-Zurayqiyat,
al-Aattar, al-Rifaiyah, and al-Umariyat). Six of the madrasas concentrated
around the Grand Mosque. Tripoli also included a Khanqah, many secular
buildings, five Khans, three hammams (Turkish baths) that are noted for their
cupolas. Hammams were luxuriously decorated and the light streaming down from
their domes enhances the inner atmosphere of the place.

Ottoman Tripoli

During the Ottoman period, Tripoli became the provincial
capital and chief town of an Ottoman pashalik (or vilayet) encompassing the
coastal territory from Jubayl to Tarsus and the inland Syrian towns of Homs and
Hama; the two other vilayets were Aleppo, and Damascus. Until 1612, Tripoli was
considered as the port of Aleppo. It also depended on Syrian interior trade and
tax collection from mountainous hinterland. Tripoli witnessed a strong presence
of French merchants during the 17th and 18th centuries and became under intense
inter-European competition for trade. Tripoli was reduced to a sanjak centre in
Beyrut Province in 19th century and retained her status until 1918, when was
captured by British forces.

Public works in Ottoman Tripoli included the restoration
of the Citadel of Tripoli by Suleiman II, the Magnificent. Later governors
brought further modifications to the original Crusader structure used as
garrison center and prison. Khan al-Saboun (originally a military barrack) was
constructed in the center of the city to control any uprising. Early Ottoman
Tripoli also witnessed the development of the southern entrance of the city
(al-Muallaq Mosque and Hammam al-Jadid).

Even though a fair amount is known about the codes of
medical ethics and practice and the physician-patient relationship in ancient
civilizations, there is little evidence that the formalized practice of legally
binding informed medical consent existed before the late 19th

A documented case of legal informed
medical consent, which is dated 12 Shaban 1088/Nov 10, 1677, described the
extraction of hernia of the Christian Ya'qub son of Ghanem, by the Christian
Nicholas, son of Yanni:

"The reason why this document had been written down is
that the Christian Ya'qub, son of Ghanem, the Monk in Balamand Monastery, Koura
Sub-district, province of Tripoli, presented himself at the Holy Shari'a Council
of Tripoli and hired and engaged the Christian surgeon Nicholas, son of Yanni,
to extract his (Ya'qub's) hernia on the right side in return for a fee of 10
piasters. After the hired has undertaken to extract the hirer's hernia and treat
it with ointments, the aforementioned hirer asked people to duly and legally
bear witness that if the hirer died as a result of fate and Allah's divine
decree because of his being treated by the hired, the latter shall not be held
as guarantor for him; and the hirer has also relieved the hired from any
responsibility for his death and blood money, and that the hirer or his heir
after him shall not be entitled to any related claims made against the aforesaid
surgeon. Effected and written down on thetwelfth day of the holy month of
Sha'ban of the year 1088.
Witnesses: Mawlana Sheikh Mustafa - may his grace
be augmented. Mawlana Sheikh Mohammed, scriber of the original copy. Mohammed
Shalabi, Interpreter. Hussein Buluk Bashi. Haj Ramadan, Chief Court

The document, which was recorded during the Ottoman
Empire, attests to the established practice of legal contracts between physician
and patient, which were drawn up and signed in the presence of witnesses. It is
interesting to note that the contract was not limited to the surgical procedure,
but also included postoperative treatment and physician fees.

Ottoman Tripoli embraced many religious buildings, such
as: al-Muallaq or "hanging" Mosque (1559), al-Tahhan Mosque (early 17th
century), and al-Tawbah mosque (Mamluk construction, destroyed by 1612 flood and
restored during early Ottoman Period). It also included several secular
buildings, such as: Khan al-Saboun (early 17th century) and Hammam al-Jadid

Citadel of Raymond de Saint-Gilles

the citadel takes its name from
Raymond de Saint-Gilles, who dominated the city in 1102 and commanded a fortress
to be built in which he named Mont Pelerin (Mt Pilgrim). The original castle was
burnt down in 1289, and rebuilt again on numerous occasions and was rebuilt in
1307-08 by Emir Essendemir Kurgi.

Later the citadel was rebuilt in part by the Ottoman
Empire which can be seen today, with its massive Ottoman gateway, over which is
an engraving from Süleyman the Magnificent who had ordered the restoration. In
the early 19th Century, the Citadel was extensively restored by the Ottoman
Governor of Tripoli Mustafa Agha Barbar.

The Clock

The Clock tower is one of the most
popular monuments in Tripoli. The tower is located in Al-Tell square and was
constructed by the Ottomans as a gift to the city of Tripoli.

The Clock tower has undergone a complete renovation
recently with funding from the Turkish government and now the clock tower is
again operational. Next to the Clock Tower, you will find “Al Mashieh” which is
the oldest and most beautiful park in Tripoli.


many churches in Tripoli are a
reminder of the history of the city. These churches also show the diversity of
Christians in Lebanon and particularly in Tripoli. Here are some of the churches
in Tripoli:

  • Beshara Catholic Church
  • Evangelical Baptist Church
  • Latin Church
  • Moutran Church
  • Orthodox American Church
  • Roum Catholic Church
  • St Efram Church for the Assyrian Orthodox
  • St. Elie Orthodox Church
  • St. John of the Pilgrims Mount church
  • St. Jorjios (George) Catholic Church
  • St. Jorjios (George) Orthodox Cathedral -
  • St. Jorjios (George) Orthodox Church - Mar Jirjis

  • St. Joseph Al-Serian Catholic Church
  • St. Maroon ( Mar Maroon Church )
  • St. Mary Salvador Maronite Church
  • St. Mary ( Saydeh ) Maronite Church
  • St. Michael Orthodox Church
  • St. Michael Maronite Church - Al Koubbeh
  • St. Michael Maronite Church
  • St. Nicolas Church for the Greek Orthodox
  • St. Thomas Church


Tripoli is a very rich city containing
many mosques that are spread all over the city. In every district of the city
there is a mosque. During the Mamluk era, a lot of mosques were built and many
still remain until today.

Some of the more known mosques:

  • Aattar
  • Abou Bakr Al Siddeeq
  • Arghoun Shah
  • Bertasi
  • Kabir al Aali
  • Mahmoud Beik the Sanjak
  • Mansouri Great Mosque
  • Omar Ibn El-Khattab Mosque
  • Sidi Abdel Wahed
  • Tawbah Mosque


When Tripoli was visited by Ibn
Batutah in 1355, he described the newly founded Mamluk city. "Traversed by
water-channels and full of’ gardens", he writes, "the houses are newly built.
The sea lies two leagues distant, and the ruins of the old town ate seen on the
sea-shore. It was taken by the Franks, but al-Malik ath-Tháhir (Qala’un) retook
it from them, and then laid the place in ruins and built the present town. There
are fine baths here.’’

Indeed, the hammams built in Tripoli by the early Mamluk
governors were splendid edifices and many of them are still present until today.
Some of the more known are:

  • Abed
  • Izz El-Din
  • Hajeb
  • Jadid
  • Nouri

Offshore Islands

Tripoli has many offshore islands. The
largest is called today the "Island of Palm Trees" by some, and by others
"Rabbits’ Island".

Palm Island or Rabbits’ Island

This is the largest of the islands with an area of 20
hectares. The name "Araneb" or Rabbits comes from the great numbers of rabbits
that were grown on the island during the time of the French mandate early in the
20th century. It is now a nature reserve for green turtles, rare birds and
rabbits. Declared as a protected area by UNESCO in 1992, camping, fire building
or other depredation is forbidden. In addition to its scenic landscape, the Palm
Island is also a cultural heritage site. Evidence for human occupation, dated
back to the Crusader period, was uncovered during 1973 excavations by the
General Directorate of Antiquities.

The Bakar

It was also known as St Thomas Island during the
Crusades. It is the closest to the shore and can be accessed via a bridge that
was built in 1998.

The Bellan

The Island’s name comes from a plant found on the island
and used to make brooms. Some people claim that the name comes from the word
“blue whale” (Baleine in French) that appeared next to the island in early 20th

Fanar (Lantern) Island

The Island is 1600 meters long and it is the home for an
old light-house built during the 1960's.

The Soap

At the end of the 15th century, the
governor of Tripoli (Lebanon) Youssef Bek Sayfa established Khan Al Saboun (the
hotel of soap traders). This market was finished at the beginning of the 16th
century, the last days of the Mamlouks ruling. The manufacture of soap was very
popular in Tripoli. There, the market became a trade center where soap was
produced and sold. Afterwards, traders of Tripoli began to export their soap to

At first, those perfumed soaps were offered as gifts in
Europe. Therefore, handiwork developed in Tripoli. Due to the ongoing increase
of the demand, craftsmen started to consider this job as a real art and wanted
to satisfy their product amateurs by manufacturing various forms of more
effective good-quality soap. That’s how the Arab and occidental countries began
to import the soap of Tripoli. Nowadays, we find all kinds of soaps in Tripoli:
slimming soaps, anti-acne soaps, moisturizing soaps… Some producers are even
turning to exportation more than ever.

The raw material used for these kinds of soap is olive
oil. The Tripoli soap is also composed of: honey, essential oils, natural
aromatic raw materials like: flowers, petals, herbs… The soaps are dried in the
sun, in a dry atmosphere: this allows the evaporation of water that served to
mix the different ingredients.

The drying operation lasts for almost three months. As
water evaporates, a thin white layer appears on the soap surface: it is the soda
that comes from the sea salts. The craftsman brushes the soap very carefully
with his hand until the powder trace is entirely eliminated.
Jalloul Lebanon

Gender : Male
Towers : Aries
Posts : 279
Join Date : 2012-02-14
Age : 28
Location Location : Lebanon, Tripoli


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