I4 PICTURESQUE PALESTINE.
ryptians, and the Greeks. A hundred copyists were constantly employed in transcribe
manuscripts. The Kadi sent into all countries men authorised to purchase rare and precious
After the taking of the city a priest attached to Count Bernard de St. Gilles entered the
room in which were collected a vast number of copies of the Koran, and as he declared that
" the library of Tripoli contained only the impious books of Mohammed," it was given up
to the flames. Ibn Abu Tai says that the library contained three million volumes, and that the
Christians exhibited at the taking of Tripoli the same destructive fury as the Arabs had done
who burned the library of Alexandria. Novairy fixes the number of volumes at one hundred
In 1289, when the city was destroyed by the Sultan Kilawun, it was said to ha
contained four thousand looms for the weaving of silk, and the zinnar Tarabulusy, or Tripoli
silk girdle, is famous even to the present day. The Arabs call the city Tarabulus, the Arahic
form of Tripoli. The Turks usually speak of it as " Kochuk Sham " (Little Damascus), and
it is well worthy of the name. It stands on the eastern extremity of the triangular plain, a
mile wide, at the base of the elevated plateau called El Kura, from one hundred to three
hundred feet high, which reaches to the foot of the Lebanon range (see page 5).
The sacred river Kadisha, which rises at Bsherreh, just under the cedars of Lebanon («
page 475, vol. L), runs twelve miles through a wild ravine to the plain, then cuts through the
plateau for eighteen miles in a deep gorge to Tripoli (see pages 1 and 5), where it breaks out
into the level plain, forming a tortuous and picturesque valley, at the mouth of which, on
both sides of the river, the city of Tripoli is built (see pages 8 and 9). The roaring Kadisha.
called by the Muslims Abu Ali, runs through the city, crossed by two stone bridges, besides
the new bridge of a tramway farther down the stream. On the right bank, the houses on the
hill are chiefly rough structures of the Maronite fellahin ; those below, between the river and
the Bab Tibbaneh, being Muslim. The Christian quarter is on the left side of the river, and
stretching far to the southern Blacksmith's Gate is the populous Muslim quarter. The population
consists of twelve thousand Muslims, four thousand Greek Christians, five hundred Maronites,
and a few Protestants, Papal Greeks, and Jews. These sects live in distinct quarters, and the
different trades of the city, as in Damascus, occupy separate streets.
From a fine fountain five miles south-east of the city, the water of the Zghorta river
brought in an aqueduct, which crosses the Kadisha a mile from the city on the Kunatir el
Brins, or Prince's Arches, a structure dating back to Raymond of Toulouse, Count of Tripoli.
The distributing reservoir is a small room below the castle, whose floor is punctured with
holes a few inches in diameter, through which the water flows in earthen pipes to all pari
the city. Every house, mosque, and khan has its anbub and birke/t, in which the water runs
constantly day and night, giving a cheerful aspect to the houses, refreshing in summer, but
chilling and damp in the winter. The houses are built of the yellow porous sandstone from
the reefs along the seashore, and there are few dry houses in the city. The ground floors arc