Tripoli Cathedral (Italian: La Cattedrale di Tripoli; Arabic: كاتدرائية طرابلس) was a Roman Catholic cathedral in Tripoli, the capital of Libya, located on Algeria/Elgazayer Square - Maidan al Jazair /Maydan elgazayer in the city centre.
|This article is missing information about whom commissioned the construction of the Cathedral, and who decided its conversion to a mosque. (June 2016)|
The Cathedral was built circa 1923 and officially opened in 1928. The original architect was the Italian Saffo Panteri, who designed the Cathedral with the use of Neo Romanesque Romanesque style with a cupola ( dome ) reaching the height of 46 meters in total. The belltower ( campanile ) was decorated with Venetian style engravings.
There were around 50,000 Catholics in Libya (mostly in Tripoli and surroundings), comprising less than one percent of the population. Most of the Catholic population was composed of the remaining Italian Libyans, Maltese Libyans, Filipinos and other catholic migrants. Most of which who have already left Libya by 2010 - 2015 and the 2011 civil war.
Conversion into a mosque
In the 1990s, the Cathedral was converted into the "Maidan al Jazair Square Mosque" (Arabic: جامع ميدان الجزائر) by Muammar Gaddafi's regime. After having been significantly modified, many of its original features were removed and replaced with more modern Arabesque-style architecture. The Cathedral was fully converted into a mosque by the year 2000.. While no sources were find to back the claim, the reason for conversion is that the Cathedral was originally built by the ottomans as a Mosque, then turned into a Cathedral by the Italians, however very weak reference exists to back this claim. The cathedral evidently has Romanesque - Basilica rules of architecture and inconclusive evidence of Arabesque Ottoman style construction.
Reportedly the world heritage organisation has disagreed with the conversion into a mosque with the reasoning being the defacing of Libya's Italico-Libyan History.
- TRIPOLI OF BARBARY by Romeo Cini, Maltamigration.com, Accessed 28 December 2009.