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Tripolis Libya Cruise Port Guide


Ships dock at the Port of Tripoli. Distance to the town center is approximately 0.5 miles.

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Tripoli has a population of 1.69 million. The city is located in the northwest of the country on the edge of the desert, on a point of rocky land projecting into the Mediterranean Sea and forming a bay. Tripoli was founded in the 7th century BC by the Phoenicians.

The center of town is best seen on foot. Starting at Green Square, a walk along the old corniche road leads to the cathedral built by the Italians in 1928 and the People's Palace, formerly the royal palace. Magaref Street is known for some of the best colonial architecture in the city. Special Note: Restroom facilities ashore are limited and very basic.

The city's old town is still unspoiled by mass-tourism, though it is increasingly being exposed to more and more visitors from abroad, following the lifting of the UN embargo in 2003. However, the walled medina retains much of its serene old-world ambience.

In the medina, you shall delight in the souks, and you will view the old hotels known as khans, the small squares, traditional houses and a string of mosques, the largest and unquestionably most beautiful of which is the "Ahmed Pasha Karamanli" mosque.

The beautiful mosques are the main tourist attraction in Tripoli.

The Assaraya al-Hamra (the Red Castle), a vast palace complex with numerous courtyards, dominates the city skyline and is located on the outskirts of the medina. There are some classical statues and fountains from the Ottoman period scattered around the castle.

The basic street plan of the medina was laid down in the Roman period when the walls were constructed as protection against attacks from the interior of Tripolitania, and are considered well planned, possibly better than modern street plans.

In the 8th century a wall on the sea-facing side of the city was added. Three gates provided access to the old town: Bab Zanata in the west, Bab Hawara in the southeast and Bab Al-Bahr in the north wall. The city walls are still standing and can be climbed for good views of the city.

The Jamahiriya Museum, a fine modern facility located in the Red Castle, is Libya's national museum. It houses many artifacts from the country's Roman and Greek periods, including treasures from the World Heritage sites at Leptis Magna and Sabratha, as well as such curiosities as the Volkswagen Beetle car driven by Gadaffi in the 1960s.

Passports and visas are required for entry into Libya for all nationalities except nationals of Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia. Those who have passports indicating travel to Israel will not be allowed to enter.

Tours Excursions Transportation:

Sabratha, the ancient city that began as a Carthaginian trading post, became a permanent settlement in the 4th century B.C., and flourished in the Roman period. Located by the sea, Sabratha's ruins include temples, public baths, fountains, and a museum noted for its collection of mosaics.

Taxis may be available, but their hiring is restricted to guests in possession of an individual Libyan visa.

Nearby Places:

Along the coast to the east of the capital, is one of the best-preserved ancient Roman cities in North Africa or Europe: Leptis Magna. Its remarkably impressive scale and condition is down to the protection afforded by the layers of desert sand which buried it until discovery early last century.

Along the coast to the west and near the border with Tunisia is another Roman city, Sabratha.

Shopping and Food

Except for jewelry, items found in most shops are of limited interest to tourists. The merchandise offered in the souq consists of all kinds of clothing and household utensils. Browsing here will be more for atmosphere then things to buy.

Typical Libyan cuisine, generally consisting of soup, salad, chicken, lamb or beef served with rice or couscous and vegetables, can be found in small restaurants around the city. Reminder: Libya is an alcohol-free country.

Beverages are not served with meals in Libya. After the last bit of the meal is served, a vessel containing water or milk is passed around the table. One must be very careful not to breathe into the vessel; one can not breathe in or out until the bowl is no longer touching the lips. After one has drunk, coffee is served.

Not all of the bottled water in Libya is sanitary. Be sure to inquire about which brands are safest. If necessary, you can purchase foreign brands as well.


The local currency is the dinar.

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Opening Hours and Holidays:

Public Holidays in Libya: These do not include Islamic religious holidays whose dates may vary in each calendar year and rely on the sightings of various phases of the moon.

-British Evacuation Day: 28th March
-Evacuation Day: 11th June
-Revolution Day: 23rd July
-National Day: 1st September
-Italian Evacuation Day: 7th September

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