Tripoli comes back to life

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Prepared by: Sabah Ayoub Photos by: Marwan Tahtah

Tripoli is bursting with life again. Its residents are back to their shops, schools and cafes.

Tripoli’s citizens opened their windows and welcomed us into their city. “We have been waiting for you for so long,” they said. They smiled as they waived for the camera after months of hiding, that same camera that up until recently had been capturing the images of those who had terrorized them and besieged their city.

Local vendors told us they hated “all” politicians, but the photos of “leaders” visible everywhere are not a comforting sight, and disturb this long lost jubilant scene.

The colorful flags of teams participating in the World Cup overtook the ugly cardboard portraits of ministers and deputies, along with their pitiful parties’ flags.

Vendors have been pushing their carts to sell bread since the early morning, while local grocers volunteered to control traffic. Children stood by the café’s wall and waived for our camera, “what country are you from?” they asked.

We visited the vibrant Zahrieh neighborhood, and then Schools Street where we saw its many bakeries and heard the sound of its birds chirping. We headed to the crowded Bazerkan market, then the gold market, the spice market, the tailors market and the soap shops. Of course we couldn’t miss the beautiful Azmi residential-commercial street and Sakafa Street, then Miatayn and the vivid al-Tal square. And finally we rested along the seaside in al-Mina.

On a lovely spring day, the sun shined over the alleys and neighborhoods of the old city. Everyone headed to their jobs, waiting for others to believe that the city is fine again.

After a long day and lots of noise, the city finally rested as its young women headed for a walk on the beach.

Gardenias, juice and freshly baked bread, Tripoli is shining again and its soul is hanging on the city’s balconies.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Tripoli's old souk welcomes visitors once again.
Tripoli's old souk welcomes visitors once again.
Laundry hanging on one of Tripoli's old balconies.
Laundry hanging on one of Tripoli's old balconies.
The old Zahrieh neighborhood is filled with colors again. Some aspects have changed and some people have left, but no doubt the smell of bread, vegetables and fresh coffee will bring them home.
The old Zahrieh neighborhood is filled with colors again. Some aspects have changed and some people have left, but no doubt the smell of bread, vegetables and fresh coffee will bring them home.
A man enjoys the revitalized streets of Tripoli on his bike.
A man enjoys the revitalized streets of Tripoli on his bike.
“We love life!” The original version.
“We love life!” The original version.
A vendor sells kaak on the street as Tripoli enjoys respite from the violence that has been plaguing it.
A vendor sells kaak on the street as Tripoli enjoys respite from the violence that has been plaguing it.
A man at the tailors market waits for locals and tourists to believe that Tripoli is fine now.
A man at the tailors market waits for locals and tourists to believe that Tripoli is fine now.
Father Ibrahim Sarrouj is heading to France to deliver a lecture about Islamic-Christian coexistence. “Thank God, we are fine” Sarrouj told visitors at his al-Saeh Library after extremists set it ablaze a few months ago. “We” refers to him, the library, the books, the neighbors and Tripoli residents.
Father Ibrahim Sarrouj is heading to France to deliver a lecture about Islamic-Christian coexistence. “Thank God, we are fine” Sarrouj told visitors at his al-Saeh Library after extremists set it ablaze a few months ago. “We” refers to him, the library, the books, the neighbors and Tripoli residents.
Crowds enjoy the al-Mina seaside.
Crowds enjoy the al-Mina seaside.
Old neighborhoods have come alive again as Tripoli enjoys a break from the ongoing regional violence.
Old neighborhoods have come alive again as Tripoli enjoys a break from the ongoing regional violence.
"Look closely and you will see us… this is our city." Azmi Street, Tripoli.
"Look closely and you will see us… this is our city." Azmi Street, Tripoli.
Men enjoy Tripoli's traditional cafes.
Men enjoy Tripoli's traditional cafes.
A baker finishes another batch of fresh bread.
A baker finishes another batch of fresh bread.
Men watch the world go by from inside one of Tripoli's traditional cafes.
Men watch the world go by from inside one of Tripoli's traditional cafes.
A man sells souvenirs by Tripoli's port.
A man sells souvenirs by Tripoli's port.
Tripoli's streets are filled with traffic once again.
Tripoli's streets are filled with traffic once again.
A resident of Tripoli walks through one of the alleyways of the old city.
A resident of Tripoli walks through one of the alleyways of the old city.

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