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3 November 2009
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A Journey in Tripoli

Tripoli > History > Tourist Guides > A Journey in Tripoli AlFayhaa > The Fifth Historical Complex

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The Fifth Historical Complex
Aerial view of the fifth historical complex: The Attar mosque (left), Khayyateen caravansary (top center), and Misriyyin caravansary (bottom center).

Interior View of a Dome above one Bathing Room at Izzeddeen Hammam

Interior View of a Dome above one Bathing Room at Izzeddeen Hammam.


Khayyateen Caravansary.

German Tourists Visiting the Khayyateen Caravansary.

The Misriyyin Caravansary.
Plan of the fifth historical complex

A two-minute walk from that point is enough to reach the fifth historical complex that includes the Mameluke "Izzedeen" hammam. This is the largest hammam in Tripoli as well as in Lebanon. It was built sometimes between the years 1295-1299 CE. Its outer and inner portals exhibit Latin inscriptions that indicate their Crusade origin.

Few steps from the hammam is the famous "Khayyateen" (Sewers') caravansary. It is the most famous and the most beautiful caravansary in Tripoli. There, the shops are specialized by sewing Tripolitan, national, and Arab dresses that were very-well known during the middle ages. At present, these dresses attract the attention and admiration of tourists. You may buy an Oriental cloak, a silk belt, men's Kaftan (smock), or a women's gown that was hand-sewed by a Tripolitan artist, who inherited this craft from his father and grandfathers. As a matter of fact, the leading Lebanese and Arab artistic show groups buy the dresses made by the innovative hands of the 'artists' of the "Khayyateen" caravansary. The discovery of Byzantine traces near the western gate leads to the conclusion that the history of this caravansary dates back to the pre-Mameluke period.

Facing the "Khayyateen" caravansary is the "Misriyyin" (Egyptians') caravansary; separated by a street. The Mameluke "Misriyyin" caravansary is a squared-construction commissioned by the Sultan "alNasser Mohammed ben Kalawoon" in the first half of the 14th century CE. It was historically used by the Egyptian guests and merchants.

At about a minute distance from the "Khayyateen" and the "Misriyyin" caravansaries is the Mameluke "Attar" mosque that was commissioned by "Badreddin alAttar" in about 1325 CE. The eastern portal of this mosque is splendidly decorated with colorful engravings and inscriptions.

You have to turn around the mosque to reach the northern side where you can see its tall, huge, and military tower-like minaret. You can also reach the western portal of the mosque by passing through a covered road where you can notice the name of the most eminent historical architects of Tripoli "Abu Bakr ben alBosays."


The main portal of the Aattar Mosque.

The Attar Mosque

The Sixth Historical Complex
Traditional carpenter.

Details at Sanjar AlHomsi Palace.

Details at Sanjar AlHomsi Palace.

A view at the Homsi disrict.
Plan of the sixth historical complex

At a less than a minute distance from the western portal of the "Attar" mosque you can reach the sixth historical complex; there exists the "Jaweesh" caravansary, currently used as a furniture gallery. Inside the caravansary there are two Turkish inscriptions and on its both sides, next to the road, are small shops for craftsmen making traditional Tripolitan items; something that deserves a careful look.

In just few seconds you may reach an array of covered roads, the walls of which are made of sand-stones that give an idea about the defensive nature of this pre-Mameluke district named "Tarbi'ah". Above the road, you find the palace of the Mameluke Prince "Sanjar alHomsi" (1324 CE). At a less than a minute walk to the west is the "Homsi" (alias Tarbi'ah) square. In the square you'll find the madrassa of Prince "Sanjar alHomsi" and large, decorated, marble-floored shops that are currently used as furniture galleries.

At a minute walk to the west from the "Homsi" square there is a narrow and covered street surrounded on both sides by residences, a madrassa, a caravansary, and a wall with defensive windows, historically used to protect the gate of the district that existed at the end of the road and lead to the outside of the old Tripoli city.


A view inside the Sanjar Madrassa.

The Seventh Historical Complex
St. Nicolas (Sabaa) Orthodoxe Church

St. George (Jorjios) Orthodoxe Church

Hamidi Mosque
Plan of the seventh historical complex

At a minute distance from the "Tarbi'ah" gate, you may walk in a road that passes next to the "Sharafeddeen" mosque commissioned by the Ottoman Governor of Tripoli "Ali Beik alAsa'ad alMor'ebi" in 1824 CE. From there you'll reach the "Nasara" (Christians') quarter where you find the seventh historical complex. This complex includes several churches, the oldest of which is "Saint Nicolas" Orthodox (Greek) church. This was originally a savonnery (soap factory), that belonged to a Muslim family from Tripoli, but later renounced it and was turned into a church in 1809 CE that was historically known as "Saba'a" church. Next to "Saint Nicolas" church, there exists the "Saint Georgious" Orthodox (Greek) church built sometime between the years 1862-1873 CE. Few meters away is a smaller "Saint Georgious" Orthodox (Greek) church built in 1835 CE, the large "Saint Michael" Maronite (Roman Catholic) church, built in 1889 CE, facing a small Latin church that belongs to the Italian school. A one minute walk in the "Kanayes" (churches) street towards the north is enough to reach the "Saint Joseph" Assyrian Catholic church; originally belonging to the Fransiskan (French) and built towards the end of the 19th century. At a one minute distance from the western side of this later church is the "Hamidi" mosque, named as such because it was renovated during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan AbdulHamid the Second (1892 CE). Previously, this mosque was called the "Toffahi" mosque.


The Eighth Historical Complex
The Aaskar Caravansary.

The Imperial monogram of the Sultan AbdulMejid at the Aaskar Caravansary.

Tawbah Mosque
Tawbah Mosque

Tawbah Mosque

Haraj Bazaar
Plan of the eighth historical complex

Starting from the "Hamidi" mosque you can go east to reach the eighth historical complex located at the "Dabbaghah" (tanners') district. In a less than one minute distance, you'll be visiting the largest caravansary in Tripoli and Lebanon, that is the "Aaskar" (soldiers') caravansary. It is composed of three sections that were built during the Crusade, Mameluke, and Ottoman periods, respectively. On top of the eastern portal of the caravansary, you may notice the Imperial monogram of the Sultan AbdulMejid dated 1852 CE.

Near the "Aaskar" caravansary is the Mameluke "Tawbah" (repent) mosque commissioned by the Sultan "alNasser Mohammed ben Kalawoon" at about 1315 CE and later renovated during the reign of the Ottoman Princes of the "Sayfa" family in 1612 CE.

A one-minute walk to the east will allow you to reach the ancient bazaar of "Haraj", probably built during the Mameluke or pre-Mameluke period. What can be carefully observed there are the tall granite-columns present at the open space of the bazaar and the columns present within the shops. The shops at this bazaar are specialized for selling traditional Tripolitan crafts made of wood, cotton, leather, as well as many handicrafts some of which are: bath chairs, wooden sandals (kobkab), shoes, leather purses, casts of sweets (namely, Ma'amool especially made in Tripoli during the religious feasts and Shawbak, a kind of sweets made of dough and sugar), etc. Other activities include stuffing mattresses and blankets with cotton by applying a Tripolitan method in which the Naddaf (an instrument made of an arched wooden twig tightened by a rope) is used. Many of the items exhibited in the shops of "Haraj" bazaar are sold for relatively cheap prices making them ideal Oriental gifts.

A one minute walk from "Haraj" bazaar will lead you to the "Mallaha" pool, which was historically filled with juices of orange, or tamarind, or lemon, or liquorice during religious feasts to be distributed for free to the residents of the city over periods of three days and sometimes for one week.


The Naddaf

The Mallaha Pool.

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