The Cedars Mountains
Tripoli and the Cedars Mountains as seen from the sea.
A general view of Old Tripoli.
Abou Ali River and the Bourtasi Mosque.
Pharaonic columns marking the entrance of ElMina from Tripoli.
The city of Tripoli, the second capital of the Lebanese Republic, is located on an open plain, the western side of which is washed by the sea and the eastern side lies under the shadows of the majestic Cedar mountains enthroned above all in snowy magnificence. From the northeastern side, the city is overlooked by the round-shaped "Leopards" (Fuhud; alias: Torbol) mountain.
Tripoli is at a distance of 80 km from the capital Beirut and is only 40 km away from the Syrian borders. The "Abou Ali", flowing out from the "Gardens’ Spring" in the sacred canyon of "Kadisha", flows through the eastern part of Tripoli splitting the southern hill of "Abou Samra" from the northern hill of "Kobbat alNasr".
The history of Tripoli goes back to about 3500 years ago. It was founded by the Phoenicians at about 1500 BCE. Since then and until the French Mandate, Tripoli was penetrated, settled, or ruled by Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusades, Mamelukes, and Ottomans.
Tripoli is one of the richest cities of the eastern shores of the Mediterranean in terms of monumental heritage and it comes second after Cairo because of the Mameluke monuments it contains. The city represents a living museum that combines Roman, Byzantine, Fatimid, Crusades, Mameluke, and Ottoman monuments neighboring each other. The districts, bazaars, old houses, winding roofed-alleys, and monuments scattered over a distance of 2 km from North to South and 1.5 km from East to West makes Tripoli a complete historical city. At present, Tripoli includes about 160 monuments that can be classified as: citadels, mosques, small prayer houses, madrassas (theological schools), caravansaries, hammams (public baths), bazaars, water fountains, inscriptions, engravings, renks (logos), and other aesthetic and artistic monuments.
In the old bazaars of Tripoli the visitor can smell the fragrance of history, feel the essence of the orient, witness the living local handicrafts, taste the most delicious foods and sweets, and buy different items for cheap prices.
Tripoli, with a population of about half a million, is characterized by a moderate weather, abundance of water supply, variety of vegetables and fruits produced, and ease of transportation. In addition, the inhabitants of Tripoli are known for welcoming their guests keeping the air of city people, who can speak different languages, and still reserve their culture, social tradition, and family ties. As described and summarized by historians: "Tripoli is a terrestrial-marine, plane-mountainous, and Shamite-Egyptian (Syrian-Mameluke) city".
Prof. Omar AbdelSalam Tadmori (May, 2001)