The Capital of the North

By: Douglas Scott

Tripoli is the capital of the North Governorate and a qada of the same name. It is known as the capital of the North. It continues to be one of the most beautiful cities along the Mediterranean Sea. Tripoli is the second-largest city in Lebanon and the second-largest port in Lebanon.

Tripoli is a principal sea port, and the commercial centre of Libya. There is some industry, mainly producing for the domestic market,which are cigarettes tanning and carpets.

The old city is a fascinating place to wander around with its medieval streets, hammams, madrassas and mosques. Most of it dates from the Mameluke construction period in the 14th and 15th centuries.

There are 9 souks in Tripoli, and they are all located in the same area. Make your purchases in one of the large bazaars. Souq al-Turk is the largest market place in the old town.

Besides sweets, the city is famous for its production of soap beautiful fabric and jewellery, as well as aromatic herbs and spices. When shopping in the downtown area or old souks, remember that gold is a good buy.

The night snacks vendors around Tripoli Old Town mostly sell the same things also some are selling teas of coffees. Night venues like bars and clubs are conspicuously absent in Tripoli. The Libyan law prohibits the sale or consumption of alcohol. The Medina is then the liveliest part of town where locals can be found drinking in the quarters street cafes and tea rooms.

The narrow whitewashed streets of the Medina are crammed with mosques

The Khan as-Saboun is the Soap Khan. It was built at the beginning of the 17th century by Yusuf al-Saifi, the pasha of Tripoli. The soaps are all hand-made, using olive-oil as its main ingredient.

The Karamanli Mosque is the largest mosque in the medina, built in 1738. Its prayer hall is roofed by 25 domes, and it has 5 door ways. It is an examples of the artistic skills of local craftsmen.

The castle of Tripoli, known as Assai al-Hamra, has been a fortress of many lords of this region through the centuries. It was briefly the stronghold of Christian knights in the 16th century. It also is home to the National or Jamahiriya Museum which houses many artefacts from the country's Roman and Greek periods. It is a vast palace complex with numerous courtyards and opened to the public in 1988

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