Tripoli is a city that is located in the northern part of Lebanon. It is the second largest city in the country that is situated to the north of the capital city of Beirut. The history of the city dates back thousands of years. A number of historical sites and structures are located here that speaks volumes about the history of the place. The city, along with Sidon, Tyre, and Ardos, was considered an important trade center during the times of the Phoenicians. Visitors can find a lot of interesting sites to visit and things to do in Tripoli.
Tripoli is considered to be the second largest city of Lebanon. It is quite rich when it comes to its diverse culture and beautiful destinations. If you are thinking about the things to do in Tripoli, you should head straight towards Mina, as this place offers its visitors the magnificent view of the beaches, where you can enjoy the warmth of the sun while sipping drinks and enjoying the delicious Tripolitan Ka’ak. Other things to do in Tripoli and at the beach, include relaxing on the chairs available and enjoying the magnificent view that can be found nowhere else in the world. If you consider yourself an explorer, then there are number of things to do in Tripoli for you. You can visit the Palm Island Nature Reserve located on an island that lies about 6 miles to the west of Tripoli. It is a huge island comprising of three smaller islands, popularly known as Rabbits’ Island. It protects the habitats of green turtles, several rare birds and of course, the rabbits. One of the other things to do in Tripoli that you cannot miss at any cost is visiting “the Red Castle”. This castle, which is also known as “Al Saraya al- Hamra” is considered to be a landmark in the history of the city.
The economy of the country relies on the soap industry, as they need to produce it to meet the demands of the local Hammams. Khan Al-Saboun is therefore, one of the famous places to visit in Tripoli, if you want to learn that how soap is being made in the city. If you are thinking about other places to visit in Tripoli you may go to the Mina Port and the Al Manshieh Park. The Mina Port is located in the old section of Tripoli and has great economic significance as an important trade route. The designs of the buildings in Tripoli are known for their unique Mameluk-era architecture, which is worth seeing. If you ever get the chance to visit Tripoli, you should also definitely go to see the Tripoli Museum, as there are many artifacts like the statue of the goddess Diana that take you back to their religious history. Among the things to do in Tripoli, you also cannot miss out seeing the Clock Tower located in Al-Tell Square that has been standing since the early 1900s.
Towering high above the city if Tripoli lies the Saint Gilles Fortress which was erected way back 1103 and was burned down in 1297. However, the tower was built partially during the century that followed and it still stands as one of the most impressive sights with an imposing moat and several gateways; the Ottoman, the Crusader and the Maluk.
Also known as Qala’at Sanjil, the fortress was named after Raymond de Saint Gilles who was a Count of Toulouse besides being a Commander of the Crusaders who expanded it during his rule. Some people has the misconception that he was responsible for building the tower when the fact is that he ordered his army to burn it down when he attacked the city.
The fortress has been renovated a number of times during its history but one of its main features is the Fatimid construction which was turned into a Church by the invading Crusaders. Besides this there are also several structures inspired by the invaders along with others introduced by the Ottomans during the 16th century. There is also a number of prayer halls, a stable, large halls for soldiers, reservoirs and graveyards that are still present today
Situated northwest of the city, Souk El-Haraj is the oldest and most famous commercial bazar in Tripoli. The Souk (market) is thought to have been built in the 14th century on the site of a former church. This famous commercial marketplace of Tripoli, Lebanon has a total surface area of 2,300 square meters. There are two floors which are supported by 14 granite columns, two of which are situated at the center and 12 around the sides of the Souk.
Souk El-Haraj is distinct from other souks of Lebanon for having four gates that guard the central yard. The two central columns have been built using granite imported from Pharaonic Egypt. The central yard is surrounded by shops where merchants used to sell their goods in ancient times. The granite columns of the bazaar which support the 8 meters high ceiling were renovated by the Ottomans, the Crusaders, and the Mamlouks.
Today, the space is occupied by sellers who sell different goods, particularly mats, pillows, and mattresses. In addition to the economic activity, the Souk is also a popular tourist attraction because of its unique architecture. A café was also built in 2003 to serve the visitors and customers with a variety of snacks and traditional Lebanese beverages.