Magda Sibley, Fodil Fadli



Unlike the other medinas in the Arab-Islamic world, the medina of Tripoli (capital city of Libya), has never had many historic public baths. This is probably due to a more conservative tradition where most of the Libyan women use the hamm.m only once, as part of their pre-wedding preparation and celebration. This paper presents an analysis of the three and only remaining of Tripoli and the way they are used and perceived today. Based on the results of a survey conducted by the authors in July 2008 (as part of an AHRC funded research project on the historic hammams of North Africa) the architectural characteristics of these historic structures are presented along with their increasing usage by a cosmopolitan population (Tunisians, Moroccans and Sudanese) living inside the medina. This paper also outlines a number of guidelines for the sustainable use and adaptation of the hamm.m within the Libyan context.


Historic hammams; Tripoli-Libya; tangible/intangible heritage; architecture

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