Tripoli, Capital of North, is quite unique in Lebanon in that it’s both a major city but also one that has retained a great deal of its history.
Tripoli was situated around the Al-Mina port district. After the city’s destruction by the Mamlukes in 1289, it was replaced by a new town near the hill of the Crusader Castle of Raymond de Saint Gilles, founder of the Country in Tripoli.
Tripoli is a living museum, preserving important monuments from Crusader, Mamluke and Ottoman times. Distinguished remnants of the Mamluke period include the Great Mosque and the mosque of Taynal, built with elements from ancient and Crusader monuments. It boasts nearly 40 historical sites that date back to the 14th century, and many of them much earlier than that. From the famous citadel and the continuously operating old souks, replete with traditional craftsmanship, to the plethora of mosques and hammams,
It holds a string of four small islands offshore, and they are also the only islands in Lebanon; Palm Island or Rabbit Island, The Bakar Island, The Bellan Island, and Fanar Island.
Beyond historical attractions, Tripoli is quite a fascinating city to wander through, full of narrow side streets dense with old apartment buildings. The corniche makes for an attractive stroll leading to the Tower of the Lions and past the harbor where you can easily find boats for hire that will take you to the Palm Island Nature Reserve.
The city also has a wonderful old bone yard from the days when steam trains operated across the country. A few old engines sit rusting away in an abandoned shed and can be seen from the street, along with some rolling stock and a few other outbuildings from the days when the yard was busy sorting cargo and passengers.
Today, Tripoli is a prosperous industrial and business centre. Known as the capital of the north, it is the second largest city in Lebanon.
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