Tripoli

Known as the capital of the North, Tripoli (Trablos or Trablus in Arabic, Tripoli ), 85 kilometers north of Beirut, has a special character all of its own.

Founded by the three cities of Sidon, Tyre and Arados island during the Persian era, it became the centre of a confederation, where Phoenicians met to debate their important affairs. Since its foundation, probably in the 9th century BC, until the end of the Crusader period, Tripoli was situated around the Al-Mina port district. After its destruction by the Mamlukes in 1289, however, it was replaced by a new town near the hill of the Crusader Castle of Raymond de Saint-Gilles, founder of the County of Tripoli. The castle has been renovated and changed many times during its history, most recently in the early 19th century.

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 "At-Tall", dominated by an Ottoman clock tower (built in 1901/2) in the heart of down-town Tripoli, is the transportation centre and terminus for most taxi routes. Thanks to its historical wealth, relaxed lifestyle and thriving business climate, this is a city where modern and medieval blend easily into a lively and hospitable metropolis.