Thursday, August 4, 2011


Sights & Sites
Cyrene Greek Ruins – Shahhat (on Green Mountain);;2nd in importance only to Leptis Magna; must see; agora, gymnasium, temples, theatre, and tombs; originally modelled on Delphi; location high on bluff overlooking sea is stunning; Greek world’s pre-eminent city in 4th Century BCE, renowned for astronomers, mathematicians, philosophers, and other scholars; after change from Greek to Roman administration (75 BCE), Cyrene became important Roman capital; among numerous highlights is Skyrota, main road through Greek city (still lined with impressive columns engraved with Hermes and Hercules images); also 5th Century BCE Temple of Zeus and Cyrene’s Sculpture Museum.

GHADAMES (alternatively Ghadamis)
Winzrik Hotel – just outside Old City; 011-218-484-62485; 16 spotlessly clean rooms.
Sights & Sites
Old City –; known as “pearl of desert”; stands in oasis; is among oldest pre-Saharan cities and outstanding traditional settlement example; architecture characterized by vertical function division: ground floor used to store supplies; another floor for family, overhanging covered alleys that create what is almost underground passageway network; and, at top, open-air terraces reserved for women; among oldest cities in pre-Saharan region; situated next to palm grove; try to locate Kasim Abdu Salaam Habib’s home, which he opens to public; lovingly decorated 600 year-old home.

LEBDA (alternatively Leptis Magna; also, Lebida, Lepcis Magna, Lectis Magna, Lpqy, or Neapolis)
Sights & Sites
Roman Ruins –; regarded as best Roman site in Mediterranean; city originally Phoenician port, settled during 1st Millennium BCE; gold, ivory, precious metals, and slaves brought it great wealth, supplemented by surrounding rich agricultural land; excellent, large museum next to main entrance; of note, Severan Arch, granite and marble Hadrianic Baths (largest outside Rome), partially covered nymphaeum (shrine dedicated to nymph worship), 2 massive forums, extraordinarily detailed basilica and theater, and amphitheater and circus.
Villas Silin – outside Lebda;; villas are group of seaside residences built on coast by rich ship owners at 2nd Century’s beginning by Roman rulers, who, trying to make better harbor, succeeded only silting it.

SABRATHA (alternatively Sabratah or Siburata)
Funduq al-Asil – Zuara Coastal Highway (400 m south of highway, on Sabratha’s west side); 011-218-24-620-959; rooms are tidy and spacious; some, at back, have distant theater view; coffeehouse and restaurant.
Sights & Sites
Roman Ruins –; originally, Phoenician trading-post that was part of Massinissa’s short-lived Numidian Kingdom (together with Leptis and Oea); Romanized and absorbed, and subsequently rebuilt, in 2nd-3rd Centuries; UNESCO World Heritage Site; most renowned portion is theater (built during Emperor Commodus’ reign 161-92); near theater is amphitheater with arena where gladiators once faced wild animals, fighting until death; underground corridors still visible; other monuments & areas of interest include Temple of Liber Pater, Basilica of Justinian, Mosaics of House of Jason Magnus, Capitolium, Temple of Serapis, Temple of Hercules, and Temple of Isis; city wracked by religious quarrels and largely destroyed by earthquakes, particularly that of 365; rebuilding programme followed but Vandals invaded in 455 and tore down walls.

Sights & Sites
Rock Art – east of Ghat (on Tassili N’Ajjer (Algeria) border);; Ks cave paintings in very different styles, dating from 12K BCE-100 CE; reflect marked changes in fauna and flora, as well as different populations’ life ways; abundant natural wonders: dunes, isolated stone towers emerging from sand and eroded into most bizarre shapes, petrified arches, and canyons carved by ancient rivers; cave paintings and carvings scattered throughout almost all valleys; represent daily life scenes, including animals, hunting, and ritual dances; site includes Murzuch Desert, which bears traces of all different Palaeolithic phases; Italo-Libyan archaeological missions have catalogued, besides settlements comprising important ceramic and stone material, numerous rock-art sites, including 100s engravings and Ks paintings; numerous outline engravings represent large savannah mammals: elephants, rhinoceros, etc.; numerous bovine herds depicted on decorated walls; horse phase, from 1500 BCE, is that of semi-arid climate; camel phase (1st Centuries BCE) saw intensification of desert climate.

Corinthia Hotel Tripoli – Souk Al Thulatha Al Gadim; 011-218-21-335-1990;;
Sheraton Four Points – Hi Elandalous; 011-218-21-337-2300;

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