Tripoli is the largest city in northern Lebanon and the second-largest city in the country. Situated 85 kilometers (53 miles) north of the capital Beirut, Tripoli overlooks the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and it is the northernmost seaport in Lebanon. It holds offshore a string of four small islands, the only surviving islands of Lebanon. The Palm Islands were declared a protected area because of their status of haven for endangered loggerhead turtles (Chelona mydas), rare monk seals and migratory birds.
Even though the history of Tripoli dates back at least to the 14th century BCE, the city is famous for the largest Crusader fortress in Lebanon (the Citadel of Raymond de Saint-Gilles), and it is the second largest city (behind Cairo) in terms of Mamluk architectural heritage.