Lebanon’s Tripoli aspires to become Islamic tourist site

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Lebanon’s largest city Tripoli is seeking to become a site of Islamic tourism to boost its sluggish economy, a local tourist official said on Sunday.

“The historical sites that Tripoli embraces are witnessing intensive activity during the holy month of Ramadan, as local and regional travel organizations are competing to organize activities and religious festivities to attract Lebanese from different regions as well as Arab and Islamic tourists,” Yehia Fattal, head of the Tourism Council of Tripoli, told Xinhua.

The coastal city is hosting religious and traditional festivities on a daily basis, such as Sufi singing troupes from Lebanon and abroad and dancing dervish groups from Islamic and Arab countries.

“As soon as the daily evening prayer is finished, the citizens of Tripoli flock to the cafes and old souks in the city where the Ramadan evenings are celebrated and particularly those featuring the dervishes’ dances,” the official added.

According to historian Khaled Tadmouri, dervish dance was created centuries ago by Sunni Sheikh Jala el-Din Al-Roumi and the dancers, wearing a white uniform and a green beret, will follow the religious singing group with circular routines.

In addition to the Sufi singing and dervish dancing groups, the Ramadan activities celebrated in Tripoli also include hakawati, or a reader who recites stories from the Islamic and Arab history.

“We are seeing in Tripoli a huge participation from the people of the city and others parts of the country in the evening celebrated by the hakawati”, Barrak Sobeih, a reader in Tripoli, told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, Rouweida al-Rafei, head of the Artistic committee in the Toruism Council of Tripoli, said the city has about 360 heritage sites dating back to the Mamluk and Ottoman ages.
“The daily activities organized in Tripoli intend to revive the traditional and heritage sites and boost the tourism in the city,” she said.

“Tripoli has the potential to compete with many Islamic cities, as it boasts many heritage sites, such as the ‘noble trace,’ a single hair of the beard of Prophet Mohammed, which is located in the Grand Mansouri Mosque, one of the most important archaeological mosques in Lebanon,” al-Rafei noted.

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