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Tripoli - A view from our expert author
Tripoli possesses some of the finest examples of Mamluk handiwork outside of Cairo © Paul Doyle
Vestiges of its past are highlighted by the old-fashioned souks, as redolent of 1,001 Arabian Nights as you will experience anywhere north of Sidon.
With a population of around 250,000, Tripoli – a heartland of the Sunni Muslim community – is Lebanon’s second-largest city and port, and capital of the North Lebanon Governorate (Muhafazat). Despite its size, it has been estimated that only some 2% of visitors to the country actually visit Tripoli and those who do mostly arrive on organised coach tours as day-trippers rather than on an extended tour of the city and its environs. Yet Tripoli, 85km north of Beirut, contains after Cairo the largest and most significant set of Mamluk-period architecture in the world, with other vestiges of its past highlighted by the old-fashioned souks, as redolent of 1,001 Arabian Nights as you will experience anywhere north of Sidon. Here you can still see artisans, from jewellers to tailors, toiling over their labours in factories and workshops used by their forebears over the past five centuries.