Tripoli, the capital of Libya, lies on the North African coast surrounded by agricultural plains. Tripoli's natural harbor and a permanent oasis have drawn people to the area for three millennia.
Oea, as Tripoli was known in Phoenician times, was one of the three cities, along with Sabratha and Leptis Magna, of the Roman provincia Tripolitania. The decline of Sabratha and Leptis Magna left Oea the principal city on the coast, but it continued to be referred to as Tripolis.
Tripoli was a Christian city from at least 256 CE until a Vandal siege in the mid-fifth century. The rule of the city changed hands between the Vandals and the Byzantines until Amr ibn Al-As and his Arab armies conquered Tripoli in 642. The Knights of St. John took the city in the 14th century. The Spanish conquered it in the 16th century, after which the Ottomans captured Tripoli and governed until the 20th century.
The old city (medina) is surrounded by massive Ottoman fortification walls, and its plan still reflects Roman origins with a cardo extending from the arch of Marcus Aurelius to the Bab al-Hurria (Liberty Gate). A decumanus runs from an arch along Shar'a Hara al-Kabira, another along streets Shar'a al-Harrara and Shar'a Humt Garian. Cardo and decumanus exemplify the two principal divisions in a Roman town plan. The city is dominated by the castle, al-Saraya al-Hamra, which today houses the Jamahiriya Museum. The oldest surviving mosque in Tripoli is the mosque of al-Naqah (1610), but other significant monuments include the Ahmed Pasha al-Qarahmanli Complex, the Uthman Pasha Madrasa, and a number of other mosques. Along Tripoli's narrow, arcaded streets are courtyard houses from the Ottoman period and funduqs, two-story market workshops with sleeping quarters for merchants.
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Khairi M. Al-Bashir Abdulla, Mohamed Gamal Abdelmonem and Gehan Selim, "Walkability in Historic Urban Spaces: Testing the Saftey and Security in Martyrs' Square in Tripoli," Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research. Vol. 11, issue 3 (November, 2017): 163-177.
Much of the built environment design literature focuses on a composite of walkable spaces variables such as density, diversity, and destination accessibility. One of the most effective factors in walkability is “safety and security”. There is an evident gap in understanding the perceived ability of Libyan public spaces to support walkability. This paper aims to investigate the effectiveness of “walkability” in traditional Libyan urban spaces and analyse the relationship between walking, a safe and secure environment, and its impact on a heritage site in Tripoli city centre. The perceived personal safety of 140 users of the heritage site “Martyrs' Square” were measured; this research is studying the quality of environment and users’ interaction with their environmental issues relating to the study area. Mixed methods were used in this research: this study used both quantitative and qualitative methods to gather information; the quantitative took the form of a questionnaire; and the qualitative took the form of observations. Analysis of quantitative data was conducted with SPSS software; the survey was conducted from August 2016 to September 2016. The results of this study are useful for urban planning, to classify the walkable urban space elements, which could improve the level of walkability in Libyan cities and create sustainable and liveable urban spaces.