Last update:
October 30, 2009
Thu AlQe'da 11, 1430

History of Tripoli Lebanon: A Summary

Prof. Omar AbdelSalam Tadmori

Tripoli > History > Summary

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Throughout its long history, that goes beyond 3000 years, Tripoli Alsham has witnessed two main stages:

1 . The establishment of the Phoenician city, at around 1500 BC by the citizens of Sydon (Saida), Tyr (Sour) and Arwad, at the seaside where the Mina city stands nowadays.

2 . Building the new fashioned Mamluk city before more than 700 years by the order of Sultan Kalawoon, who liberated it from the Crusaders (688 Hejira (H)/CE 1289). Kalawoon';s military leaders advised him to destroy the old coastal city, so, as not to be a target for new Crusaders raids. Instead, the city was, constructed at an inland area that is two miles away from the coast and around its old historical castle. Since that time, the history of the Mamluk architecture in Tripoli started to develop.

During the Crusader's occupation of Tripoli which lasted 180 years (502-688 H)/(AD 1109-1289), they built the fort, known as Saint Jil fort. That was on the same location where the leader Soufian Ben Moujib Azdi had constructed the first Islamic fort during his blockade around Tripoli in the era of Khalifa Osman Ben Affan at about 25 Hejira/CE 646. The Crusaders also put up several constructions at the northern and western bottoms of the fort so a small Latin street emerged. Before the Crusaders, the Fatimids ordered the constructions of several monuments in the same area. They built a small mosque (Mashad) inside Soufian's fort that the Crusaders did not demolish when they built Saint Jil fort. The Fatimid also, built a Khan (Kisaria) on the eastern side of Tripoli river. The Crusaders turned it into a palace known as the Prince Palace. Besides, many other Fatimid milestones were raised, however, their features disappeared with time. In fact, when the Mamluks started building the new city, they used sculptured stones from the ruins that were brought from the old demolished coastal buildings of both the Crusaders and Fatimids. These stones were originally cut from the solid sandy rocks of the seaside. Mamluks also used the granite pillars, brought since ages from the Egyptians, Romans and Crusaders, as erected supports and to give more strength to many different constructions, many of which still do exist nowadays. Some of these pillars can be noticed in: Taynal mosque, Tahhan mosque, Houjayjieh School, the Mansouri great mosque's yard, the High great mosque in Mina city, Amir [Prince (Barsbay Nasiri)] Tower, the gates of the Prince (Kartay) school and Sakrakieh School, the several erected pillars in today's Mina city streets, Haraj Bazaar, and others.

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