Tripoli Festival: The Mameluke March

Under the Patronage of The Municipalities of Tripoli, El-Mina, and Al-Baddaoui

In Collaboration with The Tourism Charity of Tripoli

Organized and Directed by: Prof. Omar AbduSalam Tadmori

The Carrier of the Sultanic Flag
The carrier of the Sultanic flag.
The Commander of the Citadel
The Commander of the Citadel.
A Commander of Thousand
A Commander of Thousand [soldiers].
The Hanafi, Maliki, and Hanbali Judges
From right to left: The Hanafi, Maliki, and Hanbali Judges.
The Shafi'i Judge and the Shafi'i Mufti
The Shafi'i Judge (front) and the Shafi'i Mufti (behind).
The Hanafi Mufti (on the horse) and the Chief of the Nobles
The Hanafi Mufti (on the horse) and the Chief of the Nobles (left).
The Chief of the Nobles and the Preacher of the Mansouri Great Mosque
The Chief of the Nobles (left) and the Preacher of the Mansouri Great Mosque (right).
The Army Inspector, The Chief of the Nobles, the Diwan Inspector, and the Imam of the Vice-Sultan
From left to right: The Army Inspector, The Chief of the Nobles, the Diwan Inspector, and the Imam of the Vice-Sultan.
The Preacher of the Mansouri Great Mosque and the Inspector of the Kingdom
The Preacher of the Mansouri Great Mosque (front) and the Inspector of the Kingdom (back right).
The Imam of the Vice-Sultan, the Chamberlain, and the Master Chamberlain
The Imam of the Vice-Sultan (front), the Chamberlain (back left), and the Master Chamberlain (back right).
The Imam of the Vice-Sultan, a Mawlawi follower, and the Inspector of the Kingdom.
The Imam of the Vice-Sultan (left) speaking to a Mawlawi follower (Ottoman). Behind is the Inspector of the Kingdom.
The Prince of 100.
The Prince of 100 [Soldiers] (right).
The Accountant, the Prince of 40, the Prince of 20, and the Prince of 5
The Accountant (front). Behind from left to right: The Prince of 40 [Soldiers], the Prince of 20 [Soldiers], and the Prince of 5 [Soldiers].
Mameluke Foot-Soldiers.
Mameluke Foot-Soldiers.
The Mameluke Military Band.
The Mameluke Military Band. Behind are the flags of Sultan Qalawoon.
The Plan of the March.
The Plan of the March.

On the 17th of October 2000, Tripoli witnessed an event that did not happen since almost 700 years. The March of the Vice-Sultanate in the Tripolitan Mameluke Kingdom started at the Takiyyah Mawlawiyah (behind the Tripoli Citadel) and passed through Tripoli until the Tripoli International Exhibition Center. The march passed by the regions of Bab-el-Hadeed, the old Saray, King al-Ashraf Khaleel Square (alias Al-Nejmeh), Jamal AbdulNasser Square (Alias Al-Tell), the Municipality, Azmi Street, Al-Mounla Street, Al-Mina Street, Al-Jummayzat, AbdulHameed Karami Square (Alias Al-Nour). The march included dozens of individuals dressed with Mameluke garments representing: The Vice-Sultan, the leader at the Tripoli Citadel, the army leaders, the judges of the four sects (Shafii, Hanafi, Maliki, and Hanbali), the Shafii and Hanafi Muftis, the Imam of the Mansouri Great Mosque, the Chief of the Nobles, the Imam of the Vice-Sultan, the inspectors of the Tripolitan Kingdom, the army inspector,the Diwan inspector, the chamberlains, the accountants, the Awkaf inspector, the inspector of Al-Mina, the 5 Princes of the army, and the carriers of the Sultanic flags. The most eminent personalities were riding horses. Soldiers carried firebrands and surrounded the march from all directions. The Mameluke march was accompanied by other marches for local Soufi Methodists, Drummers, flute players, acrobatists playing the "Sword and the Shield", and sellers of Irkisous (traditional drink).

The march was also followed by others organized by local Scouts. Some scouts carried huge sketches representing the Tripoli Citadel and the Tell Clocktower. These were followed by Carriages carrying Soap Makers, Coppersmiths, and a huge shield representing the Municipality of Tripoli. Many horse-driven carriages followed.

The design of the Mameluke garments followed the historical descriptions related to the dresses common in the Mameluke Period. The historical research was advised by Prof. Omar AbdSalam Tadmori. The garments were sewed and prepared by the local artisanat under the supervision of Dr. Hind El-Soufi and Mrs. Mirvet Talal-Yamak.

Prof. Tadmori pointed out that the fammous Moroccan Traveller Ibn Batouta described in detail the March since he witnessed it at year 726 H./1326 CE when he visited Tripoli. In his description, Ibn Batouta says that the March of the Vice-Sultanate was organized at a regular basis every Monday and Thursday. During the March the Vice-Sultan steps out Dar-U-Saadeh (House of Happiness), probably located within or next to the Tripoli Citadel, and walks along with Princes and eminent personalities at that time. The March continues until Al-Mina to inspect and control the defence towers. Afterwards, the March returns back by sunset with soldiers beating drums and others carrying fire brands. The March stopped briefly at the door of every Prince's house.

Al-Kalkashandi, the historian, confirmed these details and added many more in his famous book "Subh Al-A'asha Fi Sina'at Al-Insha". He said that the March also included the leader of the army, the Princes of Soldiers, the Chamberlains, the inspectors of the army and the Diwan of the Tripolitan Kingdom, the four judges, the Imam of the Mansouri Great Mosque, and many other important personalities.

The Chief of the Nobles
The Chief of the Nobles.
The Chief of the Nobles, The Army Inspector, The Preacher of the Mansouri Great Mosque, the Imam of the Vice-Sultan, and the Inspector of the Kingdom
From left to right: The Chief of the Nobles, The Army Inspector, The Preacher of the Mansouri Great Mosque, the Imam of the Vice-Sultan, and the Inspector of the Kingdom.

Last update: September 11, 2002

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