City of Waives and Horizon
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El-Mina or El Mina (Arabic: الميناء / ALA-LC: al-Mīnā’, which means "the harbour"), is a coastal independent town in Tripoli, Northern Lebanon. El-Mina occupies the location of the old Phoenician city of Tripoli. It acts as the harbour city for modern neighbouring Tripoli, Lebanon's second-largest city, situated 5 km to the east.
El-Mina is the site of the ancient city of Tripolis that dates back to the Phoenician era, and is one of Lebanon's oldest cities, alongside Byblos, Tyre, and Sidon. The site of Tripolis moved inland after the Islamic reconquest from the crusaders, and today's El-Mina became the harbour district of greater Tripoli, eventually having its own municipal board in the beginning of the 20th century, separate from that of Tripoli, but within the context of greater Tripoli. It was called also Tripoli Marina.
El-Mina is the city with the largest number of islands surrounding it, along the Levantine coastline. It has nine islands, the closest, the Abdul Wahab Island, can be visited by crossing a bridge over the sea. The farthest island, Ramkin, is 10 km away from the coast, and has a lighthouse. Four of the islands have been declared as natural reservations, to help breed fish, and preserve their natural habitat. The city's seashore extends 3 to 4 km, and its famous seashore sidewalk, the "corniche", is a popular site frequented by people from all around Lebanon, who come to enjoy the fresh air. The city is mostly flat, and has a diameter of only 1 km, that extends from the seashore to the border of the city of Tripoli. Due to large expansion, El-Mina and Tripoli are almost attached.
El-Mina is one of Lebanon's most demographically diverse cities, with many different denominations living together. The city is predominantly Eastern Orthodox Christian and Sunni Muslim, with a minority of Maronites. Being at the heart of Merranean trade, the city's culture is rich with cross-cultural interaction, and many locals speak many different languages in addition to Arabic. The use of the Greek language is widespread within the city.
El-Mina has a municipality on its own. The Port of Tripoli falls within El-Mina jurisdiction, but is operated jointly by the municipalities of El-Mina and Tripoli.
El-Mina traditionally was a walled city, with five outpost towers to protect the city from external invasion.
El-Mina is mainly a service-oriented city; much like most of Lebanon, the services sector is the main source of economic income of the city, and employs the largest number of people. Restaurants and cafes are abundant along the city streets, serving tourists and locals alike, who frequent the "Corniche" during afternoons and weekends. The second-most important sector of the city's economy is the fishing industry. As a consequence to the exposure of the city to the sea, the inhabitants have been fishermen and seamen by trade for centuries. This industry employs the second-largest number of citizens of El-Mina, and contributes considerably to the city economy. The city has a small harbor for fishing boats that hosts a considerable number of small fishing boats. The city's fish market is well known by Lebanese from all over the country. Albeit, the fishermen failed to modernize and incorporate the industry into a well established and strong source of economic wealth, and the combined output of the fishermen fails to supply even the local community, often forcing fish traders to import frozen fish from Turkey. In addition, the lack of heavy equipment and deep-sea fishing ships has left this sector decades behind.
Because of its location on the Merranean coast and its history as a trading hub, similar to metropolitan coastal cities such as Beirut, El-Mina is characterized by its diversity and rich political culture, as most Lebanese political parties hold offices in the city. El Mina citizens, like most Lebanese citizens, are politically aware. The Mayoral elections are always a fierce and closely contested race.
The Municipality of El-Mina is independent from Tripoli and it was established by the Ottomans in 1882 with the Mayor being appointed by the Ottoman district governor and was held chronologically by:
After the First World War, and the French colonization of Lebanon, mayoral position remained by appointment by the French district governor.
The French mandate introduced the municipal committee that would later become the city council.
The posts remained vacant between 1944-1947 after the independence of Lebanon, and the first elections were held in 1947.
With the eruption of the Lebanon Civil War in 1975, mayoral elections were no longer held till 1998, and Alamedine remained in office till then. Many regard Alamedine to be the builder of modern El Mina, notably the construction of the El Mina Corniche, which has become an integral part of the city's attractions and landmarks.
After the war, and the municipality became of 21 members (14 Muslims and 7 Christians by an oral agreement, the Mayor is a Sunni and his deputy is a Christian. In the first election in 1998, Alamedine was re-elected into office,
In 2012, seven members of the city municipality council, that makes third of the council, resigned and thus made the whole council out of office and the municipality of Mina is under the Governor of Tripoli and the North responsibility until the elections of May 2016.
El Mina does not officially have a representative in the Lebanese Parliament, its people elect with the whole Tripoli district. Knowing that traditionally each parliamentary bloc of former Prime Minister Rachid Karami who was assassinated in 1986, representing North Lebanon, would have one member from El Mina.
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