Of many known hammams, including the twelve hammams listed by al-Nabulsi in 1700, only five, three Mamluk and two Ottoman, have survived in Tripoli. The first buildings erected by the Mamluks after the founding of the Great Mosque were two hammams: Hammam Ezzedine1294-98 and Hammam al-Hajib 1301, which was completely destroyed in the flood of 1955, to be followed shortly by a third Hammam Al Nouri in 1333.
The location of the three baths was carefully considered. To suit the needs of the population; one was placed next to the Great Mosque to serve the neighborhood around it, one in the center of the commercial district next to the two khans to serve that densely populated area, and one on the other side of the river to serve the small right bank settlement.
This rational allocation of baths was continued by Ottomans, who built their hammam al-Jadid, in the area of the developing Ottoman complex of the Mu’allaq Mosque. Hammam al Abed Tripoli’s only functioning hammam is Hammam el-Abed, and it is the least elegant. Probably built at the end of the 17th century.
Hammam el Jadid has the typical pierced domes of Mamluke and Ottoman era public baths. The interior, with its cushions, central fountain and traditional fittings, is a living museum.
Sadly, it’s only for men unless you can arrange to reserve the entire bathhouse for women in advance. The location of Hammam El Abed was carefully considered to suit the needs of the population; it is placed in the center of the commercial district next to the two khans to serve that densely populated area. Hammam El Abed had two main entrance .
Hammam al Jadid Hammam al-Jadid is built around 1740, and called the “New Bath”, this is by far the largest Hammam in the city.
Although it has not been in operation since the 1970’s, but its faded grandeur still stirs the imagination. It was donated as a gift to the city by As’ad Pasha al-Azem, governor of Damascus following efforts by the authorities to gain the goodwill of the inhabitants of Tripoli.
Thus Asad Pasha al-Azm of Damascus could think of nothing better than to present Tripoli with a fashionable and luxurious public bath. Built at the south entrance of the city,this magnificent structure has been called Hammam El Jadid , the “New Bath” because it only dates since 1740 and is relatively new in comparison to the fourteenth century hammams built by Mamluk governors of Tripoli.
The elegant tall building has an arched entrance way with a zigzag and fleur de-lys sculptured relief inspired by earlier Crusader and Mamluk motifs . The alternating black and white marble stones of the entrance reflect the marble mosaic pattern so characteristic of the Mamluks.
It is obvious that Asad Pasha al -Azm took great pains to make his hammam an elaborate affair. Above the commemorative inscription set over the entrance is a stalactite cornice and a half-dome ceiling. A fourteen link chain in two loops, caned out of a single stone block, is suspended under the top of the arch to further enhance the hammam’s main portal.
Within there is a large principal hail with a domed roof, as well as a series of domed rooms with glass roundels arranged in patterns through which the light filters. A huge, glass-pierced dome dominates the main chamber and brings a dim light to the pool and fountain below. The floor and fountain are laid with slabs of marble in contrasting colors. Several smaller chambers, also with glass-pierced domes, lead off the main room