(Greek: Tri poleis, "three cities")
(Arabic name: Tarabulus al-Gharb)
Location: Northwestern Libya
Founded in the 7th century BCE by the Phoenicians, Tripoli was originally named Oea. During Roman times, Oea and its neighbouring cities Sabratha and Leptis Magna came to be known by the collective name Tripolis.
Later seized by the Ottoman Empire, Tripoli was ceded to Italy following the Italo-Turkish War of 1911-1912 (the "Tripoli War"). In 1934, Tripoli became the provincial capital of the Italian colony of Libya.
Following Libyan independence in 1951, Tripoli is now the capital of the Libyan state, and counted approximately 1.5 million inhabitants in 1998.
The most notable feature of modern Tripoli is the well-preserved old medina by the harbour. Briefly abandoned (in favour of the more comfortable homes left behind by the departing Italian colonisers) following 1951, it later flourished again. It has likewise weathered a period of politically-motivated closure of the old souk in the 1980s. In the eastern part of the medina lies the Byzantine citadel, and the Green Square, the heart of the city. In the newer quarters of the city, one finds the Al Fatah University.
Tripoli relies mainly on fishing, dyeworks, cigarette production and carpetworks for its economy. The city has an international airport, and is a traffic hub for the Tripolitania region, the most densely populated part of Libya.
(Arabic name: Tarabulus ash-Sham)
Location: Northern Lebanon
Located between the three ancient city states of Arwad, Sidon and Tyre, Tripoli was founded in Phoenician times as a central port for all three, and takes its name from this fact. Flourishing under the Romans, Tripoli suffered a massive earthquake in 551, which is believed to have destroyed large parts of the city.
In 1109, Tripoli was occupied by the crusaders, and became the center of the County of Tripoli (see 3, below), until it was retaken by the Mamelukes in 1289. Ottoman imperial expansion in the 16th century brought the city into Ottoman control.
Modern day Tripoli is a port city with a population of approx. 1/2 million people (2000). The old parts of the city, around the 12th century crusader fortress are surrounded by rapidly-growing residential and industrial quarters, as well as the modern harbour at Mina. A large exhibiton area in the south part of the city was drawn by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemayer.
3) County of Tripoli
Crusader state in northern Lebanon, with its capital at Tripoli (2, above). Founded in 1109 following the capture of the city, under the nominal feudal overlordship of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. In 1189, the Norman ruling family at Antioch took possession of the county. With the conquest by the Mamelukes in 1289, the county ceased to exist.