Jul 29, 2011

Tripoli of Libya

These two postcards are also part of my parents' collection and were sent by a friend of theirs, when he was living in Libya. Unfortunately, he has not written a date, but I guess it was around 1980. As he writes, living there, was like joining the army!

Tripoli is the largest city and capital of Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli (Arabic: طرابلس الغربṬarābulus al Gharb), to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon.
Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three Cities". It is in Arabic: طرابلسṬarābulus, Libyan Arabic: Ṭrābləs, Berber: Ṭrables, from Ancient Greek: Τρίπολις Trípolis "Three Cities").
The Tripoli metropolitan area (district area) has a population of 1,065,405 (2006 census). The city is located in the northwest of the country on the edge of the desert, on a point of rocky land projecting into the Mediterranean Sea and forming a bay. The city is the principal sea port, and the largest commercial and manufacturing centre in Libya. It is also the site of Al-Fateh University.

Tripoli was founded in the 7th century BC by the Phoenicians, who named it Oea. Due to the city's long history, there are many sites of archaeological significance in Tripoli. The climate is typical Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers, and cool winters with modest rainfall. "Tripoli" may also refer to the shabiyah (top-level administrative division in the current Libyan system), Tripoli District, also called the Tarabulus District.
The city's old town, the Medina, is still unspoiled by mass-tourism, though it is increasingly being exposed to more and more visitors from abroad, following the lifting of the UN embargo in 2003. However, the walled Medina retains much of its serene old-world ambiance. The Red Castle Museum (Assaraya al-Hamra), a vast palace complex with numerous courtyards, dominates the city skyline and is located on the outskirts of the Medina. There are some classical statues and fountains from the Ottoman period scattered around the castle.
Three gates provided access to the old town: Bab Zanata in the west, Bab Hawara in the southeast and Bab Al-Bahr in the north wall. The city walls are still standing and can be climbed for good views of the city. The Bazaar is also known for its traditional ware; fine jewellery and clothes can be found in the local markets.
There are a number of buildings that were constructed by the Italian colonial rulers and later demolished under Gaddafi. They included the Royal Miramare Theater next to the Red Castle and Tripoli Railway Central Station. [wikipedia]

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