Tripoli is 85 km north of Beirut, the capital of northern Lebanon, and its second largest city. From the earliest times, Tripoli was an unusual city due to its configuration; it was not one city but three cities in one,’ hence its name Tripolis or the Tri-city. It stood halfway between the great rival commercial centers of Antioch and Tyre. It was originally a small trading port and gained importance only when it became the capital of the Phoenician Federation. Remains from the medieval times include the castle of St. Gilles and an important number of religious edifices and public buildings that were left by the Mameluks. While rich in magnificent relics that illustrate Arab architectural skills through the ages, Tripoli is also a modern city growing in prosperity.