Last update:
14 November 2009
26 Thu AlQe'da 1430

A Wander Around Inside Tripoli - Lebanon

(A Diary of Series of Walkabouts "Kazdouras")

Author: EurIng. Hilal Kabbara and Mrs. Lama Mawlawi Kabbara

Photographs are courtesy of Architect Khaled O. Tadmori

Reproduction is not allowed

Tripoli > Present > Kazdoura 1

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Day 0 (Introduction)
Tripoli by night.
A breath taking view of Tripoli and the mountains behind.
A different general view of the city.

Tripoli, or as it is famously known "Trablous Al-Fayhaa" in Arabic, is Lebanon' s second largest city. It is about 85 km north of Beirut and about 33 km south of the Lebanese north boarder with Syria. The city was the centre of a Phoenician confederation with Sidon and Tyre and AradosLRisland - hence the name 'Tripolis'LRmeaning 'triple city'. Modern Tripoli is very rich in monuments from the Crusaders to Ottoman times. Tripoli is famous for its castle (Citadel) that was built by Early Arabs, and enlarged by the Franks, Memlukes, and Ottomans. It is also distinguished amongst other cities in Lebanon because of the many historical mosques that were constructed by the Mamlukes namely the Mosque of Taynal, and the Mosque of Al-AttarOT. In the Middle Ages the Islamic (theological) schools known as 'madrassahs'OThad a brilliant role in the education of many people from all over the Islamic World. The ancient part of Tripoli is still until now reflecting its oriental charm to the modern city. Bazaars, towers, khans (caravanserais) and baths (Hammam)OTare main places for visiting tourists that make Tripoli a prosperous industrial and business centre in the North of Lebanon. Tripoli has an international busy port known as El-Mina.

In this series we will take you for a spin around Tripoli's main traditional places and historical landmarks which we hope you will enjoy, and find interesting, informative and educational. This is a copyrighted material, copying this material will generate a report to: tadmouri@boun.edu.tr!


Day 1
Sunset as seen at the Bahsas Road.
The Boulevard.
Nour Square by night.
Areal view of El-Tell District. Click here to listen to the sound of the Tell Clocktower.

Areal view of the Menshiyeh Park. Click here to listen to live sounds from the busy center of Tripoli (Tell Square). Click here to listen to live sounds from the busy center of Tripoli (Nejmeh Square).

Another view to the area northern to the Menshiyeh Park (The municipality building is in the right corner).

The Narjile (Hubble-Bubble).

When you are heading along the coast line to Tripoli from the capital Beirut you initially come to "Tareek Al-Bahsas" (Bahsas road). This road takes you to "Al-Tell" passing through "the Boulevard" and "Sahet Al-Nour" (formely "Sahet Abul-Hamid Karami") then " Sahet-Al-Kayal" and finally to the focus centre of Tripoli that is "Al-Tell Square". Until the turn of the 20th century "Sahet-Al-Tell" used to be a long road with small hills of sand on both sides on both sides and "Arabiat Khail" (Horse Carriages) in the middle of the street carrying people like today's taxis and may be "Syyarat Ford Abou Da'seh" (Old one-pedalled Ford cars), hence the word "Al-Tell". When you arrive to "Sahet-Al-Tell" your eyesight is drawn to the ancient "Sa'ah" which is a historical high rise tower that has a clock at the top (It was renewed few years before), it is the "big bang" of Tripoli. There used to be also the main "Saraya" facing the "Saa" and surrounded by cinemas like "Empire", "Hamra", "Ameer", "Odeon" and so on. This "Saraya" does not exist anymore, it was demolished in the 60's to be replaced by a square hence the name "Al-Tell square". Down below around the "Saa" you can see parked taxis in long rows and you can hear taxi drivers shouting the destination to where people would like to go. One shouts "Yalla Beiroo, Wahed Beirooooot, Service, Service ya Istaz." Another screams "Mina, Mina, Minaaaaa" etc. They are anxious for their fifth passenger to complete their payload to take you to any place within Tripoli (Abou-Samra, Al-Qubbeh etc.) or its surroundings such as Akkar, Al-Kourah, and Zgharta, also to Beirut, Al-Biqa valley, and even to Syrian cities like Damascus, Homs, Aleppo, and a plenty of other places. "Abou Samra';s" cars are waiting in one place. Cars for "Al-Qubbeh wait on another and so on. Behind the "Sa'ah" you can find the "Minsheeyeh (or Masheeyeh -Tripoli main park) which is a humble size park in which people, mainly old people wearing "tarabeesh" (a red coloured fizz), come to pass time by sitting either on wooden benches or on the grass amongst the trees doing nothing except rolling cigarettes and puffing away. In the middle of the "Minsheeyeh" there is also a round fish pond that has a water fountain in its centre and we remember when we were kids we used to come to see it, take photos, and play with its water. There is also a large tree called "Shajaret Al-Tanabel" (the tree of lazy people), mainly elderly people come to have a snooze under its shadow during summer time. This particular tree is over a century of age and it is believed that the "Othmanyeen" (Ottomans) had planted it. At the "Minsheeyeh" main gate you can find a "Ka';ak" street seller selecting his "Ka';ak" from a "Arabeyyeh" (pushcart) and shouting "Ka'ak, taza Ka'ak, tary hal-Ka'ak, Kaaaaaaa'ak". "Sahet-Al-Tell" is considered to be the busiest area in Tripoli. It';s full of businesses and heavy traffic as well as people marching along on foot. There you find a variety of shops ranging from food and clothing stores to Arabic sweet stores for which the latter Tripoli is very famous. Talking of sweet you find on the main street of "Shareh Al-Tell" "Halaweeat R*f*a* A*-*a*l*b W*-*w*a*o*", "H*l*a* Ikhowan", "Halaweeat A*-*r*a" etc. If you are looking for a good treat you can enter one of these sweet stores. As you enter you will clearly notice the beautiful display of their products ranging from " Baklawa", "Ish Al-Bolbol", "Barma B';fostok", "Znood Al-Sitt", Knafeh", "Bourak", "Lahmeh B'ageen", "Bassma", "Bassboussa", and believe me the list is endless. After filling your stomach with some sweet you may fancy sitting in a "Kahweh" (Café) you can always drop in "Kahwet F*h*m", few yards from "Abou Samra" taxis line, to have "Argieleh" (hubble-bubble) and a cup of Arabic coffee to quickly digest what you';ve already eaten and to help you to continue the walkabout, or you may prefer the cling-cling coffee from a passing Arabic coffee seller. If you walk from near the "Abou Samra" taxi line for about one minute you would get to "Sahet Al-Koura" where you can get taxis to "Al-Koura", "Shekkah", "Al-Bahsas" etc. However, If you prefer to carry on in "Shareh -Al-Tell" through to "Al-Saraya Al-Atika" towards "Sahet-Al-Nejmeh" you will arrive to the heart of the old city which is called "Al-Aswak Al-Dakhelyeh" (inside old markets). This is where you will be taken on day 2 to continue the walkabout.


Days 2-3

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