Tripoli is the capital of the desert state of Libya. The old town is known as the Medina and with its narrow lanes and squat buildings it is a combination of Arabian, North African and Mediterranean cultures. The joie de vivre of the local people is obvious and music and dance are part of their daily life.
In antiquity the city was called Oea that was one of the three cities of Tripolitania and in Roman times this section of the coast contained the trading towns of Leptis Magna and Sabratha.
Since 1963 Tripoli has been the capital of the Great Socialist Libyan-Arab People’s Republic. The old town contains a souk that was almost fully abandoned following the Great Revolution as private trading was then forbidden but when the law was abolished in 1988 it once again sprang to life.
Modern Tripoli is undergoing constant development. Contemporary architecture is everywhere with skyscrapers that contain offices and apartments that have been built on the periphery of the city.
Around seventy kilometres west of Tripoli and also located on the Mediterranean coast are the remains of the ancient trading town of Sabratha. Its Theatre has been rebuilt and is still an impressive structure that dates back to the second century A.D.
Tripoli, along with the historic towns of the former Tripolitania, is one of the most spectacular places of ancient culture in North Africa and the heritage of an advanced civilisation located on the edge of the Sahara.