Back Home (To the main page)



About us

Contact us

Panoramic Views > North > Tripoli

Tripoli: Mosque El Kabir, the old souk, the fortress, palm islands and the railway station
Tripoli: Taynal Mosque
Tripoli: Khan el Saboun
Tripoli: Al Bortassi Mosque
Tripoli: Rasheed Karameh International Exhibition

Tripoli is the second largest city in Lebanon, lying 88 km north of the capital. It is the administrative centre for the whole of North Lebanon.

In the days of the Phoenicians, one thousand years before Christ, it extended only over the small headland, 4.2 km long by 2.5 km wide, known today as El Mina, or The Port. It is protected by the sea and on the east side by a wall running the length of the neck of land, making the place impregnable. The ancient Greeks called it Tripolis (the Three Cities), because of the walled trading depots belonging to the three associated cities of Tyre, Sidon (Saida) and Rouad. It was a commercial centre no less important than any of the other Levantine trading posts. Conquered just as they were first by the Assyrians in 980 B.C., then by the Greeks under Alexander in 332 B.C., and after them by the Romans under Pompey in 66 B.C., it was for one thousand years a very animated town, highly urbanised with its paved streets bordered by colonnades, its theatre, its schools, its famous library containing 100,000 works, and its temples. Then came the Arab conquest in 705 A.D. and like the other cities of the East Mediterranean coast, for four hundred years it slumbered.

In 1099 the Francs arrived under the leadership of Count Saint-Gilles of Toulouse and the city came to life again for a period of 180 years. Seized yet again, by the Mamlouks (1289-1516) and then by the Ottomans (1516-1919), its fortifications were demolished and it became no more than a small coastal harbour. The Tower of the Lions, an enormous cube 28 by 21 metres two storeys high with a parapet, is the only defensive work left from the time of the Mamlouks.

However, in the year 1100 Count Saint-Gilles of Toulouse put up a fortress 3 km to the east, on a hill bordering the river Abu Ali. It was around this "Sanjil" Castle that a new town grew up, the present-day Tripoli, which will be seen to be no more 900 years old. Conquered by the Mamlouks under Sultan Qalaoun in 1289 and then by the Ottomans under Selim 1st in 1516, it presents wide modern streets and by way of contrast busy bazaars, or "souqs", with spinning mills, foundries, soap-works textile factories, pastry shops and jewellers'. Old Tripoli preserves its old oriental charm with its narrow streets, souqs and alleys and with its friendly people! Tripoli is particularly well known for its Arab pastries. No trip into town would be complete without a visit to one of the welcoming vendors of confectionary. The ruins of Sanjil Castle still rise impressively despite its checkered history of demolition and reconstruction by different conquerors, notable among whom was the Mamlouk Prince Kurdji, who carried out extensive restorations in 1307. On the western side of the hill, the Francs built a romanesque church named Saint Mary of the Tower, destined to become after some alteration the Great Mosque. Near this stands the Koranic school, the Madrassa Qartauviy. More to the north is the Es-Saboun (soap) Market, Khan El Kayyatin (the Tailors), and a maze of narrow streets, bazaars rich in oriental colour and perfumes of eastern spices. Between the two cities we have described there stretches an immense orange grove, 3 km long, whose praises have been declaimed in verse.

Palm Tree Island or Rabbit Island

Few countries are so favored as Lebanon by their climate. From the seashore up to the snow-covered peaks, the Creator made of it a Garden of Eden, a garden of Eden Adonis. Several nature reserves have been set up to protect the richly varied fauna and flora. There are some twenty of them, of which only eight are government-controlled, by the ministries of Tourism, Environment or the Interior or by the town councils or official associations. The reserve on Palm Tree Island was created by Decree nº 121 of 9th March 1992, under the control of a commission attached to the Ministry of the Environment.

After leaving Beirut and going 80km north along the highway to Tripoli, one turns left and in less than five minutes one reaches the sea-front parade where one may park one’s vehicle. From there (or from any coastal port, Beirut, Byblos or Batroun) one may take a boat and after thirty-five minutes’ sailing one lands at Palm Tree Island, 5.5 km from Tripoli.

It is part of a small archipelago, of which the three main islands are Palm Tree, covering five hundred hectares and rising five meters above sea level, and Ramkine and Sanani, both much smaller.

These are the only islands along the Lebanese coast. Here there are a restaurant, chairs, tables, sunshades, toilet facilities, an information office, and all that a visitor needs.

The best time to visit is between June and October, or at any other time provided that one has the necessary permit. Visitors may pass their time from morning till evening, without any entrance fee to pay. One is advised to take drinking water and to wear country clothes suitable for walking, protection against the sun in the form of tinted glasses, cream and a hat, and one may swim if one wants to. A camera or telescope may come in handy. Running through the isle, a passage has been cleared some 260 meters long, which allows the visitor to observe the plants and wildlife. There are the remains of an ancient church from the time of the Crusades, with salt pans that have been restored recently, and a well with drinking water also dating back to the Crusaders.

One should respect the rules and signposts warning against causing pollution. A tower for bird-watching has been put up on Ramkine, while fossils may be found in the rocks at Sanini. One may observe migratory birds as well as those that make their nests here, such as the gray heron, the rare locally surviving whitetail (Rotatilia alba), the ruff (Philomarcus), the pipistrelle, green turtles, lizards and various kinds of bats, snakes and butterflies. The plants are no less varied and abundant.

Article: Discover Tripoli: Mosques, Hammam, Khans, Al Mina and more...

- Mosque El Kabir: >> View Movie << (2002-04-01)
- The old souk: >> View Movie << (2002-04-01)
- The old souk: >> View Movie << (2002-04-01)
- The fortress Saint Gilles: >> View Movie << (2001-04-01)
- The fortress Saint Gilles - inside: >> View Movie << (2011-08-01)
- The fortress Saint Gilles and panorama view of the city: >> View Movie << (2012-05-01)
- Palm Islands, Nature reserves: >> View Movie << (2008-07-01)
- Abdul Wahab Island: >> View Movie << ((2015-04-15)
- The Railway station 1: >> View Movie << (2010-05-15)
- The Railway station 2: >> View Movie << (2010-05-15)
- Taynal Mosque: >> View Movie << (2010-09-01)
- Taynal Mosque - Interior: >> View Movie << (2015-04-15)
- Taynal Mosque - Interior: >> View Movie << (2015-04-15)
- Khan el Saboun: >> View Movie << (2010-10-15)
- Khan Al Khayyatin: >> View Movie << (2014-06-15)
- Hammam El Nouri: >> View Movie << (2014-06-15)
- Souq El Haraj: >> View Movie << (2014-06-15)
- Al Bortassi Mosque: >> View Movie << (2012-01-01)
- Rasheed Karameh International Exhibition 1: >> View Movie << (2017-02-01)
- Rasheed Karameh International Exhibition 2: >> View Movie << (2017-02-01)
- Rasheed Karameh International Exhibition 3: >> View Movie << (2017-02-01)



Panoramic Views | Photos | Ecards | Posters | Map | Directory | Weather | White Pages | Recipes | Lebanon News | Eco Tourism
Phone & Dine | Deals | Hotel Reservation | Events | Movies | Chat |
Wallpapers | Shopping | Forums | TV and Radio | Presentation

Copyright DiscoverLebanon 97 - 2017. All Rights Reserved

Advertise | Terms of use | Credits