Last update:
October 29, 2009
Thu AlQe'da 10, 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 3

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Day 4 (Abou Samra District)
A superb sunset view in Tripoli as seen from Abou Samra district.
Modern Abou Samra and the Northern Lebanese Mountains behind.
Tripoli as seen from Abou Samra
Aerial view of el-Mina street linking Tripoli to El-Mina (May 2001).
Tripoli as seen from Abou Samra

Now we get to "Abou Samra". So what's "Abou Samra"? Almost about 70 years ago this area used to be totally covered by olive trees so, in fact, it was a large olive growing field. A person called "Abou Samra" lived in this area in a little "Kantara" (an arched cottage made of timber, sandstone and metal corrugated sheets) in a small piece of land. Most probably he was the one and only person who lived in this area and people who lived in the lower part of Tripoli used to go up to maintain their piece of lands and to pick "Zaitoon" (olive), and therefore if they were asked where they were going, they would answer we&rsquore going to "Abou Samra's", hence the name. A year after year people started to go up to this area and started to build "Kanater" (plural of Kantara), then little houses (villas) such as "Villa Jabali" and "Villa Abas", to finish with high rise buildings development and most immigrants thought that this was a good future investment. "Abou Samra" nowadays enjoys a large population mostly living in multi-storey residential buildings.

Anyway, to continue our walkabout we commence from the end of "Tal&rsquoet Al-Qual&rsquoa" to proceed into a street called "Shareh Al-Hawooz" (Hawooz means a constant head water reservoir) which you should find on your left hand side, in fact, there are two of them. If you continue a little further down this road you will reach the Northern side of "Abou Samra" where you would arrive to "Jameh Al-Ameen" (Al-Ameen Mosque) and "Al-Sharfeh" or "Al-Shalfeh" as some people like to call it. In the good old days, may be about thirty years ago, buildings did not exist near "Al-Sharfeh", however, nowadays it’s surrounded by high rise concrete jungle which unfortunately has removed the beauty of the green nature that "Al-Sharfeh" used to enjoy. Nevertheless, you can still enjoy a beautiful sight where you would enjoyably see "Zaitoon Abou Samra" joining with "Zaitoon Dahr Al-Ain" and "Zaitoon Al-Koura". Behind you there is a shallow valley (not very deep) where "Nahr Abou Ali" goes. To the other side of the valley there is a quite popular neighbourhood called "Al-Qubbeh" which levels with "Abou Samra" (may be we&rsquoll pay a visit to it someday).

If you carry on in "Al-Sharfeh" towards "Al-Swaka" (an area where people learn how to drive cars) you should be able to appreciate the lovely natural view of high mountains covered with white snow (mostly in winter) and the bottom of these mountains is intimately kissing the open plan green land all the way along your eyesight. In addition, if you are of the romantic type you can also enjoy looking at these mountains in a clear sky winter evening quilted with snow enlightened with a full shiny moon over their peaks, that‘s an outstandingly breathtaking natural portrait. These mountains are widely known as "Slisilat Jeebal Lubnan Al-Gharbiah" (Lebanon western mountains series). Now if we turn back towards the heart of "Abou Samra" we will be at "Sahet Dar Al-Moualemeen" from where you can go to "Sahet Al-Dennawee" or take the road straight down to get to "Sahet Sa’doon". If you would like to have a look at the sea at sunset time here is a great chance for you. You may go to the rooftop of "Binayhet Al-Shirmand or Shmaysem" (Tall buildings) to take a good look. Again this is another good example of the lovely nature that you can enjoy. In the good old days, and before "Abou Samra" was packed with these high rise residential buildings you would certainly fully enjoy the sight of "Zaitoon Abou Samra" and the mountains from one side and almost the whole of the bottom part of Tripoli together with the wonderful blue sea from another, and you would certainly praise the Lord, " Ya Aynee w-ya Salam Sallem". In fact, apart from the lovely natural scenes that you would enjoy around "Abou Samra" there aren't historical landmarks to see so we'd better move swiftly to another place to explore other attractions.

Now we come to leave "Abou Samra" to return to the bottom part of Tripoli to find out more about other places. Well, there are many ways from where you can exit; you can go back to "Tal'et Al-Qual'a" then down to where we initially came from, or you can go down "Tal'et Refa’eyyeh" (one way upwards by car) to take you to "Al-Haddadeen" and the heart of "Al-Aswak", or perhaps get down to "Khennak Hmaroo" via "Tal'et Al-Khennak" (Khankah in formal Arabic) from where you can reach "Bab Al-Ramal" (they're linked together actually). This is where we’ll be walking along on day 5. I can assure you will be excitingly thrilled.

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Day 5 (Bab Al-Ramal)
The Taynal Mosque.
On the way to the Ma'arad.
On the way to the Ma'arad.
In the Ma'arad, on the way to el-Mina.
In the Ma'arad, on the way to el-Mina.

So here we are now in "Al-Khennak" or "Khennak Hmaroo" as it’s most widely known. And before going to "Bab Al-Ramal" let’s take a look a this neighbourhood i.e. "Khennak Hmaroo", which is again, one of the old parts of Tripoli and there isn't much to see from the historical point of view. Probably it is one of the industrial areas in Tripoli. Most inhabitants are of the working class mostly labours, hand-crafters street merchants etc.. You would most distinctively see second hand motor vehicles and car sellers (European imports, mainly Germany) and most importantly car mechanics (engine and body repairs). So if you want to buy a second hand car or your car goes wrong or had a nasty bump or even a scratch this is where you would go, and you can be assured that a fully repaired vehicle is guaranteed together with a nice spray which will cost you peanuts compared to what you pay in Europe, and you may well be awarded a free kiss on the cheek on top of all that, well this is what I call a bargain, don’t you?

By walking about 100 metres down the road you will be reaching "Bab Al-Ramal". "Bab Al-Ramal" is famous for its large cemetery (Al-Jebbaneh), you may would like to give it a miss this time. However, a lot of people especially during "Eid Al-Fitr" and "Eid Al-Adha" come in the mornings for "Sbaheeyyeh", that is a traditional visit in order to pay their respects to their late relatives by taking a kind of flowers called "Ayes", then they can finish by reciting "Sourat Al-Fatiha" (First chapter in the Holly Koran) and asking God to bless their souls.

Now you can exit "Bab Al-Ramal" to get to either "Sahet Al-Koura" or "Sahet Al-Nijmeh" or if you like to "Tareek Al-Ma’rad". On exiting to go to "Tareek Al-Ma&rsquorad" you will certainly take a little diversion to enjoyably peep into yet again another very historical landmark distinguished for its ingenious architectural beauty that is "Jameh Taynal" (Taynal Mosque). There is a great resemblance between "Jameh Taynal" and "Al Jameh Al-Mansouri Al-Kabeer" (The Mansouri Great Mosque) in its architectural design as well as its invaluable heritage. It was erected during the days of Memluks about seven centuries ago. There has been a lot of renovation work done to it lately to preserve its original looks. As we leave "Jameh Taynal" we carry towards "Sahet Abul-Hamid Karami" or "Sahet Al-Timthal" (The Statue Square), it&rsquos called now "Sahet Al-Nour". Well, in fact there used to be a statue of Abul-Hamid Karami (1st Lebanese Prime Minister) in the middle of the square until the late seventies. It was replaced by "Lafz Al-Jalaleh" i.e. "Allah" (God) hence the new name "Sahet Al-Nour" (Allaho- Nour Al-samawate-wal-Ard). So as you are entering Tripoli will be welcomed by the name of God. From this square you could take "Tareek Al-Ma&rsquorad" to go to "Al-Meena". I think we&rsquore getting a bit tired today although it was not so much of a walk but "Al-Ma&rsquorad" and "Al-Meena" will be our destination in the next morning.

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Days 6-7

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