|1996||Tentative list||Submitted as tentative site by State Party|Els Slots (The Netherlands):
Tripoli is a much different city from the rest of coastal Lebanon. It has a large majority of Sunni moslim inhabitants, and its monuments date back mostly to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods.
The city is easy to reach by express bus from Beirut - it takes just over an hour. The Crusaders left a castle here too, a huge citadel that overlooks the crowded city centre. It's a good place to start any visit to Tripoli. In fact for me this was the only place that the city's many mosques became visible to me. Walking on the ground, in the crowded souks, the monuments are difficult to recognize. The citadel is used by the Lebanese army nowadays, possibly keeping an eye on the road to Homs!
Tourists are still welcome to enter though. Noteworthy (besides the views) is a Roman tomb or sarcophagus near the entrance, with decorations of funny faces on it. I have not been able to find any description of it on the internet, and I only think it is Roman because I overheard an Italian guide speaking about it to her small tour group. Yes, a handful of other western tourists showed up.
After the citadel I tried to find some of the Mamluk/Ottoman mosques, medressahs and hammams. My copied map from the Bradt Guide to Lebanon proved no help. I just wandered around for awhile in the souks, looking for the Soap Souk and the Grand Mosque in particular. I only managed to find the Ottoman Hammam al-Jadid. A caretaker let me in to this spacious former bath house with decorated marble floors.
After about 2.5 hours I was fed up with the heat and the crowds, and caught a bus back to Beirut.
Date posted: April 2012
Have you been to Centre Historique de Tripoli / Mina? Share your experiences!