Tripoli
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         Tripoli is the second largest city in Lebanon. It has been a busy port for more than 3000 years and remains to this day the trade center for North Lebanon as well as for coastal cities of northwestern Syria.

         Tripoli gets its name from the Greek Tripolis, name which it owes to the plan of the town as it was divided into three sections.  Modern Tripoli is divided into two parts: El-Mina or the port area, and the town of Tripoli proper. El-Mina is crisscrossed by broad avenues and still features two Arab towers, the only remaining ones of several which protected the town on the sea.  The more famous of the two is the Tower of the Lion, a fine specimen of Arab military architecture.

The old quarter of Tripoli is especially interesting to the tourist for its souks, old inns (khans), public baths (hammams) and schools (madrassahs). The souks and khans are a maze that cover a vast area, and form a conlomeration of various trades: tailors, jewelers, perfumes, tanners and soap makers, each souk a huddle of tiny, often frontless, shops, and one souk leading into another.  The position of the Grand Mosque on the edge of the souks is the best orientation to keep one from getting lost in these mazes.

        Overlooking the city is the Castle of Sinjil which was built by Raymond de St. Gilles in 1100 during the First Crusade.  The castle was partly destroyed and later rebuilt by the Mameluks. It has an imposing view from the battlements overlooking the city. Its interior is full of surprises, lofty archways, staircases, square rooms and banqueting halls.

        From  Tripoli    one  can  drive  into   the mountains to Besharre, the town of Gibran Khalil Gibran, to visit his museum and his tomb, then on the Cedars of Lebanon, stoping on the way between the two at the Kadisha Caves to admire the nature-sculpted beauty caused by water sedimentation.