The Old City of Tripoli Alleys & Streets Names

The old city of Tripoli is a place rich in history and it has faced so many changes throughout years and it is still standing before us despite the destruction it is currently facing and lack of protection. However, the old city is the place that made Libyan youth curious and encouraged them to connect with their roots and history. More locals now visit the old city to discover its beauty and learn stories from those who know more about it, especially, those who are originally from Tripoli.

I have discovered the Old City last year with my best friend when we decided to go after seeing so many beautiful pictures on social media. It was love at first sight for me. I was like a little kid in a candy store when I first set a foot there needless to say I was born and raised in Tripoli my whole life. I can’t believe that it took me 23 years to visit the city that I passed by almost every time I go downtown.

Throughout my multiple visits, I could tell that the city was designed in a very smart way from the entrance to the exit; however, allies were sort of connected. The first thing that caught my attention was the name given for each alley and street. Alley or as it is called in the Libyan dialogue "Zanga" or as stated on the tiles of each alley "Zgt.", For example Zgt. Sidi Salem, Zgt. Rih, Zgt. Koshit Saffar, Sc. Gos. Elmufti, and others which I will mention below with pictures. 

1- Zgt. Francis (The French Alley)

It was given this name after the French consulate that was located at this alley and later on became Hasan Alfgih house. The building of the consulate was constructed between the 16th and 17th century.  The alley is known for its high arches and special Tripolian houses' doors. As you walk down the alley to the end, you'll end up in Al-Nasara square (Now called Karima sss square) with its mesmerizing buildings, you will find Rome Bank, Tripoli Library, and also, you will be immediately drawn to Saint Mary church around the corner. 

2- Sc. Arba Arsat (The Four Pillars Street)

This street was named after the Spanish embassy that was located in it at that time. Sadly, I haven’t found much information yet.  Hopefully, I will get to share more information about it in the near future. 

3- Sc. Espanola (The Spanish Street)

This street was named after the Spanish embassy that was located in it at that time. Sadly, I haven’t found much information yet.  Hopefully, I will get to share more information about it in the near future. 

4- Zgt. Souk Harrara (Harrara Market Alley)

This alley is named after Harrara market. It is located between the four Pillars Street and Ghiryan Houma. In the past, this market was called “Al-Hammam Elkabir Market” for the Turkish Hamam in the alley. This alley is popular for fine silk textile and threads trade. In the past, most traders of this market were Jewish and a few Libyans. Now, the nature of this market changed more into a neighborhood with small stores here and there.

5- Zgt. Souk Dabagh (Leather tanning Market)
This alley is given this name for having leather tanning stores and for also having Dabagh mosque which was built by Mohamed Dabagh. After that, the alley changed from having leather tanning stores to stores for selling oils and margarine. This alley is located next to the old door which is called the Justice Door (باب العدالة) before putting down the southern wall of the old city.

This list goes on and on, I tried to highlight five and mention a few more. This blog post can have more editions that will cover more alleys and streets. I wish to discover more about the history of my country, Libya. As a Libyan citizen, it isn’t easy to find so many information and historical articles online especially in English. Nevertheless, I am sure that some Libyans are still trying to let the world know about the beauty that lies within every part of Libya and celebrate it with the rest of the world. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Did it help you know of these alleys and streets? Do you wish to visit them? Share your thoughts with me in the comment section below. 

Photo Credits goes to the photographer Hiba Shalabi


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