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Tripoli, Libya
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    (circa 700 BC- )
    Founded in the 7th century BC by Phoenicians
    Capital and largest city in Libya
    Metropolitan area population (2011): 1.8 million
    For most of the 18th and early 19th century, its rulers engaged in piracy against shipping in the Mediterranean.
    Despite being in a desert, it was devestated by floods (1945).
    It was bombed by the US in retaliation for Muammar Gadaffi's backing of terrorists (April 15, 1986).
    Although it remained the official capital, the Gadaffi regime moved all the government ministries to other cities (1988).
    Shortly before they abandoned the city, Gadaffi's loyalists killed hundreds of captured rebels with gunfire and grenades (August, 2011).
    It is nicknamed 'the Mermaid of the Mediterranean' for its turquoise waters and white buildings.
    It gets namechecked in the Marine Corps Hymn. ('From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.')
    It is the main banking, financial and communications center in Libya.
    According to Wikitravel, 'The people are friendly and very inquisitive.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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