|A young baker's assistant hustles his precarious load through Tripoli's narrow market streets.|
In Tripoli, I picked my way across the Old City, which reminded me strongly of Aleppo, its Syrian cousin a few hundred kilometers to the northeast. It was still early in the morning when I reached the Citadel of Raymond de Saint Gilles (قلعة سان جيل), a towering castle named for the leader of the First Crusade who oversaw its construction around 1100 AD. Much of the castle was largely intact, and unlike the castles in Syria, this one was well restored and the grass lawns of its inner courtyards well tended. The citadel offered a view over the Old City and the sea in one direction and a river valley in the other, with snow-topped mountains in the distance.