Tripoli has been in the news a lot lately – but there’s more than one Tripoli in the Middle East. I went to Lebanon’s Tripoli in search of authentic souks and found what I was looking for. However I quickly realized Tripoli was more than just souks, it has a rich history and cultural feel that is not to be missed if you are in Lebanon. The history of Tripoli goes back about 3500 years. It was founded by the Phoenicians and since then Tripoli was penetrated, settled, or ruled by Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusades, Mamelukes, and Ottomans. It’s one of the richest cities in the Mediterranean in terms of monumental heritage. The districts, bazaars, old houses, alleys, and monuments are scattered over the city.
I loved the souk in Tripoli which provided a good glimpse into local life in the bustling ancient city, but I was equally fascinated by walking around outside of the souks. The buildings and architecture were old and decrepit, but still functioning. The people were generous and curious about me which led me down many unique paths as I tried to converse with locals. Like the rest of the Middle East the people of Tripoli are known for welcoming their guests; giving me lots of photography opportunities as well as lots of sweets to sample! Here’s a collection of some of my favorite photos from my day wandering around Tripoli in and out of the souks.
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