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Geography

El-Mina’s name

Along El-Mina's history, the mentioned city was known with many names such as: "minā’ ţarāblos" (Tripoli's port), "al minā’" (the port), "minā’" (port), "ţarāblos aššām" (Al-Shām's Tripoli), "iskilat ţarāblos aššām" (harbor of al-Shām's Tripoli), "’skilat ţarāblos" (Tripoli’s harbor), "al-’skila" (the harbor). This latter name persisted until the reclamation of the law number 9/79 of December 21, 1979, that consists of modifying the name "’skila" to "al- mīna" (mentioned later on as "El-Mina"), and since, the name "’skila" was omitted from all the official records and documents.

 

Between Tripoli and El-Mina

El-Mina is considered the basic city of the ancient Tripoli that goes back to 3,000 years and had occupied, all along that period, the same area that El-Mina actually occupies, until 688 hijri / 1289 A.D.. This was when the Mamluk Sultan in Egypt and al-Shām, the King al-Manşūr Qalawūn occupied the city and destroyed it, ordering then to reconstruct the city of Tripoli where it is actually built.

 

Tripoli’s history

The history of Tripoli goes back to the Phoenician age. Its place looked like a tongue extended in the Mediterranean and measuring around 1 Km of length and less than 1 Km of width, having so the original area of Tripoli not more than 1 Km2.

No one looking at this area and imagining it without buildings can imagine it other than a city or a paradise surrounded from the three sides by the sea. For this reason, the citizens of Tyr, Arwad and Saida have always declared that the nature obliged them to consider that region an appropriate place to stay during their meetings and their conferences, to discuss their mutual affairs and to take the best decisions for all of them. Thus, the city of Tripoli was founded progressively with three quarters, from which came its name "Tripolis" (its Greek signification means "three cities").

 
 

El-Mina’s location

El-Mina is located on 26.34 degrees from the North and 33.30 degrees from the East. It is located at 80 Km to the eastern north of the capital Beirut.

 

The area

Its area is 373.7 hectares and its population is 53,201 citizens from which 51% are males, 49% are females, and 30% are under the age of 10 years old. The population is estimated to be around 143 citizens / hectares2.

 

The citizens’ origin

The citizens are either indigenous, refugees or immigrants from all regions.

 
 

Ancient quarters

These quarters are the ones that constitute the ancient city, always preserving its old architectural aspect, especially in the following quarters:

"ĥay al-bawwāba" (the Gate's Quarter):

·           It is one of the most important industrial quarters in El-Mina.

·           It is distinguished by many archeological houses built following the Turkish or the French style.

There are many mechanical industries, work fields for boats and yachts' construction, wood stores, industries for Aluminum, iron and furniture.

"ĥay al-jumrok" (the Customs' Quarter)

·           Its buildings do not have more than two floors.

·           It contains marine agencies and trading companies, in addition to administration centers such as the customs, the post and the presidency of El-Mina's port.

It contains also the biggest number of mosques and fish markets.

"al-mašta" (the Winter Residence)

It is a quarter characterized by an old aspect from inside and a new aspect from the seaside, where were built many high buildings, public schools, in addition to industries of furniture and marble.

"ĥay al-ħarāb" (the Damage's Quarter)

It is one of the most famous antique quarters, characterized by narrow and winding streets, some vaulted houses, many churches, touristic restaurants, and some hotels.

"ĥoš al-abīd" (the Slaves' Court)

·           This quarter goes back to the middle of 19th century when some Africans were coming to escape the economic and security situations and to search for job opportunities in El-Mina.

·           The quarter's buildings are close from each other and consecrated for iron industries.

·           The first people arriving to this quarter were Moussa Al-Abed, Hajj Ahmad Morjan, and Al Hajj Abdullah Al Naasan known as Al-Asmar ("the dark man").

The first person bringing these Africans to El-Mina was Hassan Darwish on his boat.

"sūq al-islām" (the Islams' Market)

·           It is an ancient quarter located behind "ĥay al-jumrok".

It has houses close from each other, mosques built in an antique style, and many vegetables markets.

Transitional quarters

These are the quarters extended to outside from the ancient ones, although they include old-style houses. These neighborhoods are:

"mār iliās" (Saint-Elie)

·           It contains many old houses, deluxe buildings, in addition to many private schools, sport clubs and Mar Elias School and church.

"al-ĥamām al-maqlūb" (the Reversed Bath)

It is located on the western side of El-Mina, where some citizens had lived before high buildings were constructed, especially the girls' High School – Andrée Nahas, industries of furniture and pottery.

New quarters

These quarters were built especially at the entrances and on both sides of El-Mina's new streets. Here they are from the North:

"al-mi’atayn" (The Two Hundreds)

·           It goes back to 1912 and begins after Al-Rawda High School (considered in El-Mina's region).

·           It contains modern buildings and Al Rawda's High School and Mosque.

"azmi bayk" (Azmi Bey)

·           It goes back to 1910 and begins at the end of Azmi Street (from the Tripoli's side) until the station.

·           It has large subsidiary streets, high and luxurious buildings, in addition to commercial companies.

"ţarīq al-minā’" (El-Mina Street)

·           It goes back to 1879, is one of the most luxurious residential quarters in El-Mina, and it still witnesses the construction of buildings in the gardens.

In this area, there is the Telephone Center building and the biggest public Garden in El-Mina, in addition to the center of the Association of Handicaps' Friends.

"kornīš al-minā’" (El-Mina's Cornish)

It goes back to 1985 and connects El-Mina to Al-Bahsas region from the seaside, being at the same time linked to Jamal Abdelnasser's Boulevard to the direction of the Olympic Stadium.

El-Mina-Beyrouth's Highway

It goes back to 1992.

Port Said and Mar Elias

·           It goes back to 1947 and is the main street in El-Mina.

·           It contributes in reducing the traffic jam, as it is the most important commercial street in El-Mina.

It has many commercial stores, schools and coffee bar.

Modern and public neighborhoods

"al-ĥāra al-jadīda" (the New Quarter)

·           It is one of the biggest neighborhoods in El-Mina, and has narrow streets and traditional houses.

·           It contains some manual works such as pumice stones, paves, flower water and cars' work fields.

·           Among the first people who lived in this quarter in 1914 was Hajj Ahmad Ben Ahmad Hassan Al-Mir Al-Ayoubi who built in 1930 a mosque for encouraging people to live in the surroundings.

The territories of this quarter were previously gardens belonging to the Italians and some citizens from El-Mina.

"al-masākin al-šabiyya" (the Popular Residences)

·           The Ministry of Housing built these residences in 1975 in a manner that workers with limited salaries own 200 houses.

Most of the houses are small, simple and close from each other.

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