Saturday, 3 February 2018

LEBANON: Tripoli, Popular For Its Sweets, Coffee And Gunfire

Tripoli is an old city in northern Lebanon. It is the largest city in Northern Lebanon, and is Lebanon's second capital, with a population of nearly 530,000 in the metro area.

The city's history stretches back to the 7th century BC as a port city. It saw rapid development during the following periods as a Persian and subsequently Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine and eventually Arab city.

The latter which would bring it to the forefront of trade, commerce and education throughout the Middle East.

Tripoli is therefore considered Lebanon's most ancient city with surviving souks and mosques that were built up to 9 and 10 centuries ago.

Tripoli is the largest city in northern Lebanon and the second-largest city in the country.

Situated 85 kilometers (53 miles) north of the capital Beirut, it is the capital of the North Governorate and the Tripoli District.

Tripoli overlooks the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and it is the northernmost seaport in Lebanon. It holds a string of four small islands offshore, and they are also the only islands in Lebanon.

The Palm Islands were declared a protected area because of their status of haven for endangered loggerhead turtles rare monk seals and migratory birds.

Even though the history of Tripoli dates back at least to the 14th century BCE, the city is famous for having the largest Crusader fortress in Lebanon, the Citadel of Raymond de Saint-Gilles.

It has the second largest amount of Mamluk architectural heritage on earth behind Cairo.

With the formation of Lebanon and the 1948 breakup of the Syrian-Lebanese customs union.

Tripoli, once on par in economic and commercial importance to Beirut, was cut off from its traditional trade relations with the Syrian hinterland and therefore declined in relative prosperity.

Tripoli borders the city of El Mina, the port of the Tripoli District, which it is geographically conjoined with to form the greater Tripoli conurbation.

Today, Tripoli is also known as al-fayḥa which is a term derived from the Arabic verb faha which is used to indicate the diffusion of a scent or smell.

Tripoli was once known for its vast orange orchards. During the season of blooming, the pollen of orange flowers was said to be carried on the air, creating a splendid perfume which filled the city and suburbs.

Tripoli has a Mediterranean Climate with mild winters and moderately hot summers. Temperatures are moderated throughout the year due to the warm Mediterranean Current coming from Western Europe.

Therefore, temperatures are warmer in the winter by around 10°C (18°F) and a bit cooler in the summer by around 7°C (13°F) compared to most of Lebanon.

Although snow is an extremely rare event that only occurs around once every five years, hail and sleet are very common and occur fairly regularly in the winter.

Rainfall is concentrated in the winter months, with the summer typically being very dry.

Tripoli gained in importance as a trading centre for the whole Mediterranean after it was inhabited by the Arabs. Tripoli was the port city of Damascus; the second military port of the Arab Navy, following Alexandria.

A prosperous commercial and shipbuilding center; a wealthy principality under the Kutama Ismaili Shia Banu Ammar emirs.

During a visit by the traveler Nasir-i-Khusrau in 1047, he estimated the size of the population in Tripoli to be around 20,000 and the majority were Alevists.

Legally, Tripoli was part of the jurisdiction of the military province of Damascus or Jund Dimashq.

The city became the chief town of the County of Tripoli the Latin Crusader state of the Levant extending from Jubayl to Latakia and including the plain of Akkar with the famous Krak des Chevaliers.

Tripoli was also the seat of a bishopric. Tripoli was home to a busy port and was a major center of silk weaving, with as many as 4,000 looms.

Important products of the time included lemons, oranges, and sugar cane.

Occitan was among the languages spoken in Tripoli and neighbouring villages. At that time, Tripoli had a heterogeneous population including Western Europeans, Greeks, Armenians, Maronites, Nestorians, Jews, and Muslims.

During the Crusade period, Tripoli witnessed the growth of the inland settlement surrounding the Pilgrim's Mountain or the citadel into a built-up suburb including the main religious monuments of the city.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre of Pilgrim's Mountain incorporating the Shiite shrine, the Church of Saint Mary's of the Tower, and the Carmelite Church.

The state was a major base of operations for the military order of the Knights Hospitaller, who occupied the famous castle Krak Des Chevaliers today a UNESCO world heritage site.

The state ceased to exist in 1289, when it was captured by the Egyptian Mamluk sultan Qalawun.

Tripoli's population has been estimated to be 500,000 and the large majority of these are Arab Sunni Muslims which make 90% of population.

Lebanon's small Alawite community also mainly inhabits Tripoli, and their numbers are estimated to be between 25,000 and 30,000 people, mainly in the Jabal Mohsen neighbourhood.

The proportion of Christians in the city is around 5%.

In recent times the city has witnessed an unfortunate financial decline due to the shift of wealth southwards towards Beirut.

This began towards the start of the 19th century as Beirut moved from Ottoman to the colonial French era.

This brought about extensive investment and development to the capital as Tripoli which was formerly a capital of its own state, was negated to becoming the second city in the newly created Greater Lebanon.

Tripoli's historic status, coupled with a young and dynamic well educated populace has meant that the city continues to be a contender for strong growth and development in Lebanon, given the right investment.

The city's unfinished and highly cherished International Fair, built by Oscar Niemeyer during Lebanon's big state days of Fouad Chihab, is testament to a story of what could have been.

From Beirut's Charles Helou station, you can either take a bus, you might have to wait 20 minutes for the bus to get full, Share a Taxi with others or hire your own taxi and you'll pay for 4 people.

All over town you will find more old Mercedes than any other vehicle. You may share one with others in the direction you are heading to and fro El Mina for example.

Try to pay LL 2,000 only for such a trip, even back and forth form the resort hotels out of town.

The citadel takes its name from Raymond de Saint-Gilles, who dominated the city in 1102 and commanded a fortress to be built in which he named Mont Pelerin or Mt Pilgrim.

The original castle was burnt down in 1289, and rebuilt again on numerous occasions and was rebuilt in 1307–08 by Emir Essendemir Kurgi.

Later the citadel was rebuilt in part by the Ottoman Empire which can be seen today, with its massive Ottoman gateway, over which is an engraving from Süleyman the Magnificent who had ordered the restoration.

In the early 19th century, the Citadel was extensively restored by the Ottoman Governor of Tripoli Mustafa Agha Barbar.

The Clock tower is one of the most iconic monuments in Tripoli. The tower is located in Al-Tell square, and was constructed by the Ottomans as a gift to the city of Tripoli.

The Clock tower recently underwent a complete renovation in 1992 with personal funding from the honorary Turkish consul of Northern Lebanon, Sobhi Akkari.

The second at February 2016 as a gift from the Turkish prime minister in cooperation with the Committee of Antiquities and Heritage in the municipality of Tripoli.

Now the clock tower is again operational. Al Manshieh which is one of the oldest parks in Tripoli, is located next to The clock tower and is a very popular attraction.

This clock tower was erected in 1906 to celebrate the 30th year of Abdulhamid II of the Ottoman Empire, like the Jaffa Clock Tower and many others throughout the Empire.

Indeed, the hammams built in Tripoli by the early Mamluk governors were splendid edifices and many of them are still present until today. Some of the more known are:

- Abed

- Izz El-Din

- Hajeb

- Jadid

An-Nouri, built 1333 by the Mamluk governor Nur El-Din, is located in the vicinity of the Grand Mosque.

Oscar Niemeyer was commissioned to design the International Fairgrounds of Tripoli in 1963, but in 1975, Lebanon's civil war interrupted construction of this modernist landmark.

The 10,000 hectare site and its 15 buildings remain today, incomplete concrete structures in our contemporary, labyrinthine times.

Tripoli has many offshore islands. The largest is called today the Island of Palm Trees by some, and by others Rabbits’ Island.

Palm Islands Nature Reserve or Rabbits’ Island - This is the largest of the islands with an area of 20 hectares (49 acres). The name Araneb or Rabbits comes from the great numbers of rabbits that were grown on the island during the time of the French mandate early in the 20th century.

It is now a nature reserve for green turtles, rare birds and rabbits. Declared as a protected area by UNESCO in 1992, camping, fire building or other depredation is forbidden.

In addition to its scenic landscape, the Palm Island is also a cultural heritage site. Evidence for human occupation, dated back to the Crusader period, was uncovered during 1973 excavations by the General Directorate of Antiquities.

The Bakar Islands - Locally known as Abdulwahab Island, the island was leased to Adel & Khiereddine Abdulwahab as a shipyard, since the Ottoman rule and till this day a well known ship and marine contractor.

It was also known as St Thomas Island during the Crusades. It is the closest to the shore and can be accessed via a bridge that was built in 1998.

The Bellan Island - The island's name comes from a plant found on the island and used to make brooms.

Some people claim that the name comes from the word blue whale or Baleine in French that appeared next to the island in early 20th century.

Fanar or Lantern Island - The island is 1,600 meters (5,200 ft) long and is the home of a light-house built during the 1960s.

Many churches in Tripoli are a reminder of the history of the city. These churches also show the diversity of Christians in Lebanon and particularly in Tripoli:

- Beshara Catholic Church

- Armenian Evangelical Baptist Church

- Latin Church (Roman Catholic)

- Moutran Church

- Armenian Orthodox Church

- Greek Catholic Church

- St Efram Syriac Orthodox Church

- St. Elie Orthodox Church

- St. John of the Pilgrims Mount church

- St. Jorjios (George) Catholic Church

- St. Jorjios (George) Orthodox Cathedral

- St. Jorjios (George) Orthodox Church – Mar Jirjis

- St. Joseph Al-Serian Catholic Church

- St. Maroon ( Mar Maroon Church )

- St. Mary Salvador Maronite Church

- St. Mary ( Saydeh ) Maronite Church

- St. Michael Orthodox Church

- St. Michael Maronite Church – Al Koubbeh

- St. Michael Maronite Church

- St. Nicolas Church for the Greek Orthodox

- St. Thomas Church

Tripoli is a very rich city containing many mosques that are spread all over the city.

In every district of the city there is a mosque. During the Mamluk era, a lot of mosques were built and many still remain until today.

Some Mosques in Tripoli:

- Aattar

- Abou Bakr Al Siddeeq

- Arghoun Shah

- Bertasi

- Kabir al Aali

- Mahmoud Beik the Sanjak

- Mansouri Great Mosque

- Omar Ibn El-Khattab Mosque

- Sidi Abdel Wahed

- Tawbah Mosque

- Tawjih Mosque

- Taynal Mosque

- Al Bachir Mosque

- Hamza Mosque

- Al Rahma Mosque

- Al Salam Mosque

Tripoli has a large number of schools of all levels, public and private. It is also served by several universities within the city limits as well as in its metro area.

Universities in Tripoli:

- University of Tripoli Lebanon

- The Lebanese University – North Lebanon Branch

- Universite St Joseph – North Lebanon

- Lebanese International University, Dahr el Ein, Just outside the city.

- Al-Manar University of Tripoli

- Jinan University

- University of Balamand, Qelhat, in the Koura district, just outside the city.

- Notre Dame University, Barsa, in the Koura district, just outside the city.

- Arts, Sciences and Technology University in Lebanon-North Lebanon Branch

- Beirut Arab University – North Lebanon Branch

- Universite Saint Espirt de Kaslik – Chekka Outside The City

- Université de Technologie et de Sciences Appliquées Libano-Française chamber of commerce

- Azm university

The International Fair of Tripoli site, formally known as the Rachid Karami International Exhibition Center, is a complex of buildings designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.

The site was built for a World's Fair event to be held in the city, but construction was halted in 1975 due to the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war, and never resumed.

The site contains 15 semi-completed Niemeyer buildings within an approximate 1 km² (250 acres) area near Tripoli's southern entrance.

The whole complex is currently deserted. There have been occasional proposals to revive and repurpose the site, but these have not succeeded, partly for political reasons and partly due the fact that ongoing security in and around Tripoli discourages any sort of major investments in the city.

Tripoli while once economically comparable to Beirut, has declined in recent decades.

Organisations such as the Business Incubation Association in Tripoli (BIAT) are currently trying to revive traditional export businesses such as furniture production, artisanal copper goods, soaps.

As well as expand new industries such as ICT offshoring and new technological invention.

Recently, a Tripoli development plan called Tripoli Vision 2020 has been formulated and supported by a number of advisory councils including influential key government officials and prominent businessmen in the city.

The goal of the project is to provides a comprehensive framework consisting of promoting investment, investing, training, re-skilling, talent placement and output promotion to reinvigorate the city’s economy.

The Tripoli Vision 2020 was sponsored by the Prime Minister Saad Hariri Office and the Tripoli MPs Joint Office with the comprehensive study conducted by Samir Chreim of SCAS Inc.

The khan, built around a square courtyard decorated with a fountain, houses soap making workshops and shops.

At the end of the 15th century, the governor of Tripoli (Lebanon) Youssef Bek Sayfa established Khan Al Saboun or the hotel of soap traders.

This market was finished at the beginning of the 16th century, the last days of the Mamlouks ruling. The manufacture of soap was very popular in Tripoli.

There, the market became a trade center where soap was produced and sold. Afterwards, traders of Tripoli began to export their soap to Europe.

Initially, perfumed soaps were offered as gifts in Europe and as a result, handiwork developed in Tripoli.

Due to the ongoing increase of the demand, craftsmen started to consider soap making as a real profession and real art which led to an increased demand for Tripoli soap in various Arab and Asian countries.

Currently, many varieties of soap are manufactured and sold in Tripoli such as anti-acne soaps, moisturizing soaps, slimming soaps, etc. which has increased an exportation of these soap products.

The raw material used for these kinds of soap is olive oil. The Tripoli soap is also composed of honey, essential oils, and natural aromatic raw materials like flowers, petals, and herbs.

The soaps are dried in the sun, in a dry atmosphere, allowing the evaporation of the water that served to mix the different ingredients.

The drying operation lasts for almost three months. As the water evaporates, a thin white layer appears on the soap surface, from the soda that comes from the sea salts.

The craftsman brushes the soap very carefully with his hand until the powder trace is entirely eliminated.
Unlike other khans built around a square courtyard, el-Khayyatin, built in the 14th century, is a 60 meter long passage with arches on each side.

Tripoli is regionally known for its Arabic sweets where people consider it as one of the main attractions and reasons to visit the city.

Some sweetshops have even built a regionally and even internationally recognized brand name like Abdul Rahman & Rafaat Al Hallab, who both became so popular, opening shops outside Tripoli and shipping sweets boxes worldwide.

The Old City is mainly a Mamluk city. The urban form of Mamluk Tripoli was dictated mainly by climate, site configuration, defense, and urban aesthetics.

The layout of major thoroughfares was set according to prevailing winds and topography.

The city had no fortifications, but heavy building construction characterized by compact urban forms, narrow and winding streets for difficult city penetration.

Residential areas were bridged over streets at strategic points for surveillance and defense. The city also included many loopholes and narrow slits at street junctions.

There are old souqs or markets and khans or caravanserai, hammams or Turkish baths, citadels, great Mamluk mosques and madrassas.

A vibrant area of the city, visitors will find an agglomeration of jewelers, perfumers, tanners, soap-makers and tailors within the narrow streets.

The city is known for its production of soap,copper and brass trays, engraved wooden boxes, furniture, and oriental sweets..

Located about a 30 minute boat ride off the coast of Tripoli, the Palm Islands Reserve is composed of three small islands.

Established as a national nature reserve in 1992, the site is recognized as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International. It is also an important egg-laying site for endangered sea turtles.

Places of interest that you can visit

Al Muallaq Mosque - is translated as the Hanging Mosque, named so because of its location on the second floor.

It was established in the 16th century by the Ottoman governor of Tripoli, Mahmud ibn Lufti, during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent.

According to Islamic tradition, non-Muslims are typically not allowed to enter mosques or sacred sites.

However, non-Muslim visitors may be able to visit the courtyard gardens and may find someone they can ask for permission to enter.

Visitors should be appropriately attired and remove their shoes before entering. Entry is not permitted during prayer hours and not permitted at any time during the month of Ramadan

Al Mansouri or Great Mosque - Built between 1294 and 1315, the mosque is named after Al Mansouri Qala’un who liberated Tripoli from the Crusaders in 1289.

This was the first monument built in the new Mamluk Tripoli. The mosque was erected on the site of a former Crusader church, St. Mary’s of the Tower.

Outside of these elements, it is a traditional Mamluk-style mosque. According to Islamic tradition, non-Muslims are typically not allowed to enter mosques or sacred sites.

Al Attar Mosque - The mosque is named after a prosperous perfume merchant, Badr al Din ibn al Attar, who donated money for the construction of the mosque in the mid-14th century.

Located in the souk area of Tripoli, the Al Attar Mosque is one of the most important mosques in the city. Its sandstone minaret is a distinguished landmark of Mamluk Tripoli.

Taynal Mosque - This is the second most important mosque in Tripoli after the Great Mosque. It was constructed in 1336 under the patronage of Amir Taynal, the governor of Mamluk Tripoli.

This beautiful example of Islamic religious architecture is noteworthy for its large size, lavish decoration and architectural peculiarities, elements of a Crusader church incorporated into the mosque architecture.
Citadel of Raymond de Saint Gilles - A massive and impressive fortress, 140m long and 70m wide, which began as a much smaller fort and encampment used by Raymond and the Crusaders to lay siege to Tripoli beginning in 1101.

Following the reconquest of Tripoli by the Mamluks in 1289, the fortress was destroyed. In 1308, Esendemir al-Kurji, then governor of Tripoli, constructed a citadel to house troops on this site.

Under Ottoman rule, significant restoration work and additions were made to the citadel. The present state of the citadel is largely the result of work undertaken by Mustafa Barbar Agha, governor of Tripoli at the beginning of the 19th century. LL7500.

Al Burtasiyat Madrassa-Mosque - This is one of the most beautiful mosques and Islamic schools, or madrassas, from Tripoli’s Mamluk period.

Designed by an Andalusian architect, Prince Issa Bin Omar Al Bertasi Al Kerdi had the mosque and school constructed in the early 14th century.

It is in the Bab El Hadid area of Tripoli on the west bank of the river. The mosque is a 5 minute walk from the Citadel of Raymond de Saint-Gilles.
Mosque of Sayedi Abel El Wahid - The smallest of the Mamluk mosques in Tripoli, this mosque is located east of the Al Aatarien Souk or market.

Characterized by its short minaret, it was built by Abed El Wahid El Maknasi in 1305. The shrine of Abed El Salam El Meshishi is located to the right of the mosque.

Soap Khan or Khan EssSaboun was built at the beginning of the seventeenth century by Yusuf al-Saifi, pasha of Tripoli .

Originally it was intended to serve as a military barracks to garrison Ottoman troops and it was purposely built in the center of the city to enable the pasha to control any uprising.

It is a large imposing rectangular structure with two story arcaded corridors running around a fountain courtyard. The outer walls had a number of loopholes and arrow slits for defense purposes.

In front of the building was an arched portal, flanked by stone benches for the pasha’s guards. A white marble plaque commemorates the building of this splendid military barracks of Tripoli.

During the battle of Anjar, Yusuf Pasha was taken prisoner. When Tripoli fell to Fakhr-ed-Din, the Ottoman garrison fled to join his routed forces in Syria.

The army of Fakhr-ed-Din occupied the barracks briefly but in the years that followed the building stood empty and useless.

To the inhabitants of Tripoli this seemed to be a great waste so a petition was sent to Deir al-Qamar, the residence of Fakhr-ed-Din, with the request to turn the building into a soap factory and warehouse.

From that day until the present time the Ottoman barracks have served as Tripoli’s flourishing Soap Khan or Khãn as-Sáboun.
Tailor's Khan or Khan Al Khayyatin - In the neighborhood of the Ezzedin baths there are two fourteenth century Mamluk khans facing each other.

The Tailor’ khan which adjoins the baths on the north., built in 1341. Its street stalls and storehouses until this day house the dry goods merchants and tailors of modern Tripoli.

The Tailor’ khan is a sixty- yard long passageway with tall graceful arches on each side and ten transverse arches open to the sky.

At the entrance an engaged Corinthian column is built in the brown sandstone wall and may be a Crusader Church pilaster with a re-used marble capital.

There are other Roman granite column sections built into the walls in the vicinity.

Every Sunday afternoon families will gather to the shoreline of Tripoli where the road meets the ocean and they walk on the sidewalk provided while the sun goes down.

They'll be vendors with food, and bike rentals for those who want to ride. Its a peaceful and relaxing time, where some will sit at the cafe's smoke hookah and watch the sunset. Its a must for a sweet finish at the end of your day.

For outdoor activities, go to the beaches of Tripoli like: Miramar, Al Naoura, Palma Touristic Center and Las Perlas.

El Mina old town - Inhabited since the 14th century B.C., El Mina was ruled sequentially by Persians, Alexander the Great's successors, the Romans, Mamluke Muslims, Turkish Ottomans, and the French.

As a result, the old town is filled with history, including mosques and churches, a Caravan Serail, a Mamluk Fortress, and souk or traditional marketplaces.

Palm island reserves - If you are enchanted by marine ecology, be sure to spend some time in the Palm Islands Reserve, comprising three uninhabited islands located approximately 5km northwest of El Mina.

This Mediterranean marine ecosystem provides a perfect breeding ground for the endangered Green and Loggerhead Turtles, a nesting place for over 300 species of migratory birds including many rare and endangered species, and a home for the endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal.

Zambo carnival - Each year on the weekend preceding Clean Monday usually between March and April, hundreds of locals organize and participate in lively musical parades wearing Pagan outfits and masks.

The origin of this old tradition is unknown but some people link it to local Greek families or Greek Mardi Gras.

What ever the origin is, El Mina is surely the only place in Lebanon where you enjoy such an exotic experience. El Mina tourism center.

The Souks, most incredible items can be found in the souk, from books to imitation shoes like Adidas, Nike.

There are stalls upon stalls of pure kitsch and others of real taste and quality.

One street have shops specializing in Islamic clothing, chador-like dresses and other traditional non-western clothing can be found. In contrast, just around the corner you may find shops selling sexy lingerie.

Suddenly you find yourself in Souk el Sayagheen, the gold and silver market. It's quite magical to look down this dark little street where the shops cast enough light for the jewellery hanging outside in curtains of gold and silver to glitter softly.

Khan Essaboun, the soap market, where you can buy aromatic & therapeutic, as well as decorated soaps.

Tripoli is famous all over Lebanon for its sticky oriental sweets. Many Beiruties visit Tripoli en group on Sunday mornings to have breakfast at Hallab.

Interestingly many sweet houses in Tripoli carry the name Hallab in one way or another.

This is either because they are legitimate descendants of the famous nineteenth century sweets maker of the same name, or simple free riders trying to profit from the name's reputation.

Two are more predominant, Rafaat Hallab 1881, and Abdel Rahman Al Hallab. A visit to either will satisfy the most demanding of sweet teeth.

In the beautiful, wide and trees-planted ElMina Road, you can find many cafes and restaurants to satisfy your hunger.

Seafood Sandwich Shop, El Mina foreshore, It has little dolphins jumping on either side of the name - that is in Arabic.

Don't miss the seafood sandwiches in El Mina, Abu Fadi's in particular, there's spicy-fish, crab, crayfish, and more.

Next to a corner-shop with Pepsi signage. There are a few swarma restaurants in a row by the waterfront next to the port.

Try the one that is packed with people waiting there's a reason for that. There are a few casual seafood restaurants further along.

Homos & Foul (Homs and beans). One of the famous breakfast dishes in Tripoli is Homs and beans, you will find many old and new style restaurant, on the main streets and inside the old areas of the city.

Tripoli has the best coffee shops street in all of Lebanon at Mina Road. With more than 100 coffee shops and restaurants on both sidewalks.

For bars and pubs, Mina neighborhood would be the best place for a glass of wine or a pint of beer with smooth Jazz music.

Cava Mino, the first pub in Mina and the only place for Jazz and good music in the area. The pub has a great ambiance, a nice outdoor space during summer.

A poetry night is hosted once a month. The owners and staff are very friendly, and it has been a very popular place for locals as well as tourists.

The menu offers a tasty collection of appetizers. The place really speaks out its slogan, Le rendez-vous des bons vivants.

Gosha, A pub and restaurant specialized in cocktails
ASkale restaurant a Snack-bar, A leading restaurant offering delicious meals, friendly staff and cozy environment, located in the heart of El Mina old town, the newly renovated Laban street.

Places to stay in Tripoli:

- Quality Inn Hotel

- Via Mina Pension

- Al Koura Hotel, Al Tall Street, off Tall St, 2 blocks South-East of the Clock Tower. A family-owned pension in the center of Tripoli. The friendly owners speak French. Clean and modern. Breakfast, Wi-Fi included. Dorm LL30 000, private from L50 000.

- Pension Haddad, Central, Near Hotel Al Koura.

- Hotel Al Ahram, From clock tower walk around the flags to the other side.

- Miramar Hotel Resort & Spa, Kalamoun.

Ehden is beautiful town at the top of the northern mountains of Lebanon some 30km away from Tripoli. Popular during summer and a main destination to sample Lebanese cuisine.

Batroun is home to lots of of historic churches, both Catholic and Greek Orthodox. The town is also a major beach resort with a vibrant nightlife. About 22 km from Tripoli.

Generaly, Tripoli is safe and people are always willing to help and assist tourists. In July 2008 there has been skirmishes between Sunnis and Alawites of Tripoli.

The army mobilised into town and controlled the situation.

Since 2011 there were numerous skirmishes between Alawites of Jabal Mohsen and Sunnis of Bab al-Tabbaneh where army has been deployed, but failed to completely stop the fighting.

Take caution when entering these areas and do not enter them if shots are being fired.

Tourism Observer

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