Tripoli is the largest city in northern Lebanon and the second-largest city in the country. Situated 85 kilometers (53 miles) north of the capital Beirut, it is the capital of the North Governorate and the Tripoli District. Tripoli overlooks the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and it is the easternmost seaport in Lebanon. It holds offshore a string of four small islands, the only surviving islands of Lebanon. The largest of these islands, the Island of Palm Trees, was declared a protected reserve by UNESCO in 1992 for its rich ecosystem of trees, green sea turtles, and exotic birds.
With the history of Tripoli dating back to the 14th century BCE, it is home to the largest fortress in Lebanon (the Citadel of Raymond de Saint-Gilles), and continues to be the second largest city (behind Cairo) in Mamluk architectural heritage. In ancient times, it was the center of a Phoenician confederation which included Tyre,Sidon, and Arados, hence the name Tripoli, meaning “triple city” in Greek. Later, it was controlled successively by the Assyrian Empire, Persian Empire, Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Caliphate, the Seljuk Empire,Crusader States, the Mamluks, the Ottoman Empire and France. The Crusaders established the County of Tripoli there in the 12th century.
With the formation of Lebanon, Tripoli, once equal in economic and commercial importance to Beirut, was cut off from its traditional trade relations with the Syrian interior and declined in relative prosperity.
Tripoli borders the city of El Mina, the port of the Tripoli District, which it is geographically conjoined with to form the greater Tripoli conurbation.
International Fair of Tripoli
The International Fair of Tripoli site, formally known as the Rachid Karami International Exhibition Center, is a complex of buildings designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. The site was built for a World’s Fair event to be held in the city, but construction was halted in 1975 due to the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war and never resumed. The site contains 15 semi-completed Niemeyer buildings with an approximate 100 km2(40 sq mi) area near Tripoli’s southern entrance. The whole complex is currently deserted. There have been occasional proposals to revive and repurpose the site, but these have not succeeded, partly for political reasons and partly due to the fact that ongoing security in and around Tripoli discourages any sort of major investments in the city.
Tripoli while once economically comparable to Beirut has declined in recent decades. Organisations such as the Tripoli Entrepreneurs Club are currently trying to revive traditional export businesses such as furniture production, artisanal copper goods, soaps, as well as expand new industries such as ICT offshoring and new technological invention
Recently, a Tripoli development plan called “Tripoli Vision 2020” has been formulated and supported by a number of advisory councils including influential key government officials and prominent businessmen in the city. The goal of the project is to provides a comprehensive framework consisting of promoting investment, investing, training, re-skilling, talent placement and output promotion to reinvigorate the city’s economy. The Tripoli Vision 2020 was sponsored by the Prime Minister Saad Hariri Office and the Tripoli MPs Joint Office with the comprehensive study conducted by Samir Chreim of SCAS Inc.
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