As the name Khan al Misriyyin, "Khan of the Egyptians" indicates, the khan was built for and possibly by Egyptian merchants. Economic ties between the newly founded city of Tripoli and the Mamluk capital of Cairo were close, and trade was active; the khan was built in the center of the city to accommodate merchandise and merchants alike. No inscription or text gives us a precise date for its construction, but it is generally thought to have been erected about 1309-56.
A rather small khan by medieval Muslim standards, the Khan al Misriyyin otherwise displays all the characteristics of a Muslim khan. It is a sturdy, functional, undecorated square structure of approximately 26 by 28 meters, built on two floors around a square courtyard of about 10 by 14 meters. It is entered by two symmetrically arranged gates that connect it to the busy city outside. The southeastern gate projects beyond the square building and provides the only staircase leading to the upper floor.
The central courtyard is paved, and has a simple square fountain in its center. It is surrounded by the ground-floor shops and storage areas, most of which are still in use today.
The upper floor has an arcaded gallery around the courtyard, behind which cubical units of about 3 by 3.5 meters each, arranged along the walls, provide a series of simple plain rooms to lodge travelers. Most of them are opened by a window to the outside and a door to the gallery. These rooms surround the building and are covered by long barrel vaults (each covering the square unit and the portion of the gallery in front of it) which look like a repeat of large ribs when seen from the top" (Salam 1983).
The khan is presently used by shops.
Salam-Liebich, Hayat. 1983. The Architecture of the Mamluk City of Tripoli. Cambridge: The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture.