The Arab geographer Idrisi who visited Tripoli during the twelfth century at the time the city was ruled by Raymond III of Toulouse writes: "Opposite the city of Tripoli are four islands in a row.
The first of them, and nearest to the land, is the Narcissus Isle (an -Narjis) ; it is very small and is unoccupied.
Opposite Tripoli are four islands located at a slight distance from the shore .
There is also evidence that it enjoyed a period of autonomy at the end of Seleucid era.
Under Roman rule, starting with the takeover of the area by Pompey in 64-63 B. The Byzantine city of Tripolis, which by then extended to the south, was destroyed, along with other Mediterranean coastal cities, by an earthquake and tidal wave in 551.
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The one is called Pigeon Island from the multitude of pigeons on it; and the other Rabbit Island, a name given it by a master of a Dutch ship on his putting ashore a number of those creatures, which have since so greatly increased that the sailors frequently enjoy the benefit of his economy. The presence of numerous potsherds dating to the late Roman and medieval periods as well as several rock-cut cisterns suggested the presence of an important settlement there.
The first excavation of "Rabbits Island" was undertaken in October 1973 and revealed foundations of several buildings dating to the Crusades in which earlier architectural elements, such as column drums and fragments of capitals had been re-used."Several medieval sources mention the offshore isles of Tripoli.
Built on the trade and invasion route near the Abu Ali River, Tripoli's strategic position was enhanced by offshore islands, natural ports and access to the interior.
Under the successors of Alexander the Great during the Hellenistic period, Tripoli was used as a naval shipyard.
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