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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Ward, Philip. Tripoli: portrait of a city. Cambridge, England: The Oleander Press, 1969.
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Bouillot, Jean. "The Physical and Climactic Dimensions of the Mediterranean Hammams," in ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 2, issue 3 (2008).
This paper attempts to explore the different experiences inside case study hammams in a number of Mediterranean countries. It investigates the physical, climatic, bioclimatic, psychological as well as bathing and ritual aspects. The hammams are located in six Mediterranean cities : Fez, Constantine, Cairo, Damascus, Tripoli and Ankara. Two main analyses are carried out of the two zones composing the hammams: the passive ones with their specific devices and the active ones with different thermo-dynamic systems. General statements can be made from the climatic point of view : the hammam design is different and specific from one country to another ; all hammams of the same city are designed in the same standards despite the fact that they were built at different historic periods. This allows us to point out the importance of the impact of the climate on the hammam design in order to achieve human comfort. Hence it is necessary to assess the passive energy areas directly linked to the outside urban context (i.e. spaces paths, souks and streets). There is also the need to assess the climate influence on the design of active areas, as this is the case in Cairo where the hot water pools have been developed possibly in order to prevent dehydration caused by the hot arid climate.