"Tripoli - White Bride of the Mediterranean" Top 5 Page for this destination Tripoli by iwys

Tripoli Travel Guide: 276 reviews and 881 photos

Tripoli is a pleasant Mediterranean port city. Originally known as Oea, it was founded by the Phoenecians in the 7th century BC. The modern name Tripoli, or Trablous in Arabic, comes from the Greek for "Three Cities". The three cities of Tripolitania were Sabratha in the west, Leptis Magna in the east and Oea in the centre.

Tripoli is faded and sun-baked and, compared to most capital cites, it is fairly quiet and safe. The souks and alleyways of the old city, or Medina, are worth exploring on foot. However, all signs, even for the big hotels and museums, are in Arabic and very few locals know English names, like "Green Square" or "Algeria Square" for any of the main sights. If you don't know any Arabic at all, you will need to do a bit of forward planning in order to find your way around.

Tripoli can be divided into three sections. At the western end of the harbour is the old city or Medina. This was the site of the Roman city, but most of what you see today dates from the Ottoman era. In the centre, extending eastwards from Green Square, is the Italian colonial section of the city, centred on Maidan Al-Jezayir, where the Italians built their cathedral in the 1920s. Finally, at the western end of the harbour is the modern city, with its high-rise office blocks, built in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Sadly, in this growing city of 1.7 million people, the whitewashed buildings which earned it the nickname, White Bride of the Mediterranean, are beginning to be replaced by bare concrete blocks, so see it before it loses its character.

  • Last visit to Tripoli: Jun 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (18)

  • Feb 24, 2010 at 5:51 AM

    Hello - does anyone know anything about the type of rug in this photo - the red one hanging from the ceiling in the archway. I have one that I bought in Niger, it had come overland from Libya, and I'm trying to replace it after housepainters ruined mine.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Apr 16, 2009 at 11:39 AM

    Hello, Ian! Thanks for your story about your life in LY.

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Jan 9, 2009 at 2:57 PM

    amazing stuff - i had no idea

  • May 25, 2008 at 7:53 AM

    Hi Found your comments on the 4 Seasons v helpful! I stayed in Tripoli a few times with friends (also in a hotel - can't remember the name but pretty dire) and now need somewhere not horribly expensive (or just horrible). 4 seasons sounds perfect. Janet

  • Basaic's Profile Photo
    Feb 12, 2008 at 1:08 PM

    Great Tripoli Page!

  • Jan 31, 2008 at 9:26 AM

    Our group went there on our first night and were charged 38 dinars for a rather indifferent meal.

  • Jan 3, 2008 at 7:13 AM

    Fascinating page.

  • Cristian_Uluru's Profile Photo
    Dec 11, 2007 at 11:55 AM

    Another place on my wish list!!! Your pages are fantastic!!!

  • RafaelTheSecond's Profile Photo
    Oct 20, 2007 at 5:39 AM

    Also in the capital we can see many different things, tjeir people, their culture..I wonder how stunning the beaches in the coast must be!

  • travelthrough's Profile Photo
    May 18, 2007 at 2:27 PM

    Hi, I loved that cafe Salim, I didn't know the name until I saw the picture! It was so lovely having tea there...kind regards

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