Tripoli is the largest city in Libya and doubles up as its capital city. The city is also the chief seaport, commercial, transport, communication, and industrial center of Libya.
Since Libya gained its independence in 1951, Tripoli has been the capital of the country.
The city of Tripoli was originally named Oea by the Phoenicians who had founded it in the 7th century BCE. It was later developed by the Romans who controlled it from the 2nd century BCE to the 4th century AD. The Arabs conquered Tripoli in the 7th century AD and used it as northern terminus for some of the major Trans-Saharan trade routes south to the empires of Mali and Songhai.
The city was captured by Ottoman Turks in 1551 but they found it difficult to maintain control and by the late 17th Century it became a haven for pirates.
Sights N Sounds of Tripoli
From the airport, the urban countryside gives way to the modern conurbation, which unrolls its bars of buildings and vast constructions. The arrival in the city centre is much more interesting. In the old town with its mosques “with a thousand domes” and its buildings from the Ottoman period, which you should not miss to visit, the activity of the souks is in full swing. In front of its ramparts, customers and shopkeepers are active all day long in the popular district around Rue Rachid.
In times of peace, it is nice to walk along the large arcades of the old Italian quarter in the city centre.
In 1969, however, the late Libyan Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi staged a successful coup against the royal government. Qaddafi used Libya’s old wealth to build up the infrastructure of Tripoli and to engage in interventions in other nations to support insurgent movements.
In 1986, the United States Air Force bombed Tripoli because of Libya’s support of worldwide terrorism. Qaddafi defied western powers and continued to embrace radical movements around the world which in turn led to diplomatic isolation and economic stagnation for Tripoli until the early years of the 21st Century.
Where to stay in Tripoli
Located in the commercial heart of Tripoli, the 4-star Plasma Hotel offers soundproofed rooms featuring private balconies with sea or city views. The Old City is only 1 km away.
The air-conditioned rooms at the Plasma have carpeted floors and a work desk. Each room is equipped with a flatscreen satellite TV and a safety deposit box. A refreshing drink can be enjoyed from the minibar.
How to get to Tripoli
Tripoli International Airport is situated 19 miles (30km) south of Tripoli, the capital and the largest city of Libya.