Tripoli طرابلس الغرب Tarabulus
Tripoli: The Bride of The Mediterranean
Tripoli is the capital city of Libya, with an estimated population of just under two million people. It is located in the northwest side of the country on a rocky land projecting into the sea and forming a natural bay. The name Tripoli comes from Tri-Polis, which means 'three cities': the famous three cities that made up the region of Tripolitania in ancient times: Sabratha (Zwagha), Leptis Magna (Lubdah) and Oea (Tripoli). The origin of polis goes back to archaic Greek where it meant "city-state", a city with its own legal body and ruled by its own citizens. Thus the name is found in many forms, like Pentapolis (the five cities of Cyrenaica in Eastern Libya), Acropolis (a citadel with a temple inside), cosmopolis (large cosmopolitan urban centre), Necropolis (city of the dead), and, of course, the current Arabic form of the Libyan capital: Tarabolous, Tharaboulus or T'arāboulus, which is written in Arabic as طرابلس, while internationally it was more specifically known as T'arābulus al-Gharb (Tripoli of the West), طرابلس الغرب, to distinguish it from another city in the Middle East by the same name, namely Lebanon's Tripoli.
Brief History of Tripoli
The city of Tripoli was used by the Phoenicians as a commercial city during the 1st millennium BC, when they first arrived in Tripolitania. Over the course of the centuries, the Carthaginians' influence grew to dominate the entire Mediterranean, and even threatened the existence of emerging Rome, when Hannibal imprisoned the Romans in their own home for 12 years. Apparently Hannibal refused to attack Rome because he objected to killing women and children in their own home, and instead waited for Roman men to come out and give him a decent fight. The Romans, fearing certain death, began their conspiracy to divert the war to Carthage and as a result Hannibal was ordered by his superiors to return home to defend the capital; where he was eventually betrayed and lost. The Romans grazed the North African capital to the ground. Following this disastrous defeat, Tripolitania first came under the influence of the Berber Kingdom of Massinissa's Numidia, before it was taken over by the Romans and eventually became a Roman protectorate, providing grains, air-like wine, wild animals, and slaves to Rome.
The city was badly devastated by the Vandals in the 5th century, and was almost paralysed during the Byzantine period where it remained so until the arrival of the Arabs in the 7th century AD. Tripoli then became Tarabulus, and gradually recovered its commercial status, linking the Sahara and the rest of Africa with Europe and Asia. By the the 15th century Tripoli became an international trading post, and declared its independence in 1460, albeit for a short while; as the city once again was attacked by the Spaniards, then the Turks, then the Knights of St John of Malta in the 16th century.
A View of Tripoli.
During the Ottoman period Tripoli was renamed Tarabulus al-Gharb (West Tripoli) to distinguish it from Lebanon's Tripoli in the Middle East, in Asia. After the Italian invasions of 1911 Tripoli began to grow in size beyond the confines of the Old Medina, and after the Second War (WWII), many families left the Old Medina to live in the new and recently vacated Italian villas and houses. By 1950s the population of Tripoli grew to 100,000, and then to one million by 1980s. The population of Tripoli today is estimated at 1.8 million.
In short, Tripoli is one of the most exotic and alluring cities of the Mediterranean world. The vibrant atmosphere of the capital is rich in signposts of its long history and culture, from the Roman sites and the Old Medina, to the modern developments of booming Libya, where local Libyan traditions are mixed with Islamic, Byzantine and Turkish cultures to create a unique place, fast becoming a cosmopolitan city. With the recent lifting of the visa restriction and the opening of Libya to international investment and tourism, Tripoli once more is becoming an international business centre and fast emerging as the sun, sand and sea destination of the future.
The Shores of Tripoli.
Places of Interest To Visit In Tripoli
A map of the centre of Tripoli, showing the Old City (Medina) and Assaraya Museum (coloured blue).
The Karamanli (Qaramanli) House
Tripoli Historical Exhibition
The House of Karamanli, or al-Qaramanli House, was built in the second half of the 18th century, during the reign of Ali Pasha Alqaramanli, and was used by Yousuf Pasha until his death. The house was restored during the early 1990s and became known as Tripoli Historical Exhibition. The house includes a fine fountain and mosaic-covered walls, with two floors: the ground floor comprises four rooms, including Assaddah Room, the Guest room, the Clothes room, the toilet, and the kitchen. The first floor contains Dar Alqabou, which houses the Karamanli costumes and furniture from that period; the Bedroom (with traditional bed and embroidered cushions); Historical & Traditional Weapons Room, containing models dressed in traditional costumes from all periods of Libyan history; and Dar Alarasah (models of instruments used by the Sufis). Please see our museums for more on this.
The Arch of Marcus Aurelius
Arch of Marcus Aurelius in Tripoli.
The triumphal Arch of Marcus Aurelius is located at the junction of two roads: the Cardo Maximus and Decumanus, providing an impressive welcome to the city from the harbour. The good condition of the arch is actually due to the fact that the arch was relocated from Leptis Magna. The empty niches in the facades of the pillars once contained the statues of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus ('the wise') - the Roman emperor from the year 161 to 180, who also was a Stoic-philosopher and a writer of the literary work: Meditations. The arch dates to 163 AD.
A Map of The Main Site of Interest In Tripoli
|1-Nadi Bab al-Baher||2-Sidi Solieman Mosque||3-Ben Saber Mosque||4-Marcus Aurelius Arch|
|5-Gurji Mosque||6-Old French Consulate||7-Sidi Abd Alwahab Mosque||8-Othman Basha Mosque|
|9-Secondhand Bookshop||10-Turkish Prison (O. Church)||11-Catholic Cathedral||12-Banco di Roma|
|13-Darghut Mosque||14-Hammam Darghut||15-Al Kateis Mosque||16-Mohamed Basha Mosque|
|17-Yusuf Qaramanli House||18-Hammam Al Kebira||19-Sidi Katab Mosque||20-Tunis Garage (Bus & Taxi)|
|21-Mutahedeen Agency||22-Ben Latif Mosque||23-Charush Mosque||24-Huria Mosque|
|25-Druj Mosque||26-Kuaruba Mosque||27-Ottman Clock Tower||28-Traditional Teahouse|
|29-Assaraya Alhamra||30-Jamaheriya Museum||31-Police Station||32-Balcony|
|33-Old Castle Door||34-Ahmed Basha Mosque||35-Sufi Mosque||36-Ben Tabun Mosque|
|37-Knenara Mosque||38-An Naqah Mosque||39-Hammam Alheygha||40-Mat'am Assarai & Asharq|