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Libya

Sabratha and the 3rd century theatre

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, February 27, 2011 at 17:15:10 :: Libya

Sabratha, in the Zawia district in the northwestern corner of modern Libya, was the westernmost of the "three cities" of Tripolis. It lies on the Mediterranean coast about 65km (40 miles) west of Tripoli (ancient Oea). The extant archaeological site was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.

Columns in Sabratha with the Mediterranean sea behind - Archaeological Site of Sabratha in Libya


Sabratha's port was established, perhaps about 500 BC, as a Phoenician trading-post that served as a coastal outlet for the products of the African hinterland. Sabratha became part of the short-lived Numidian Kingdom of Massinissa before being Romanized and rebuilt in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. The Emperor Septimus Severus was born nearby in Leptis Magna, and Sabratha reached its monumental peak during the rule of the Severans. The city was badly damaged by earthquakes during the 4th century, particularly the quake of AD 365. It was rebuilt on a more modest scale by Byzantine governors. Within a hundred years of the Arab conquest of the maghreb, trade had shifted to other ports and Sabratha dwindled to a village.

Image of the theatre of the archaeological site of Sabratha, UNESCO World Heritage Site in Libya


Besides its magnificent late 3rd century theatre, that retains its three-storey architectural backdrop, Sabratha has temples dedicated to Liber Pater, Serapis and Isis. There is a Christian basilica of the time of Justinian and remnants also of some of the mosaic floors that enriched elite dwellings of Roman north Africa (for example, at the Villa Sileen, near Al-Khoms), although these are most clearly preserved in the coloured patterns of the seaward (or Forum) baths, directly overlooking the shore, and in the black and white floors of the Theatre baths.

There is an adjacent museum containing some treasures from Sabratha, but others can be seen in the national museum in Tripoli.

(Source: libyaonline.com)

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UNESCO World Heritage

Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 19, 2012 at 06:31:19

Location District of Khoms, Libya
Coordinates N32 38 17.988 E14 17 35.016
Date of Inscription 1982

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/183 )

Leptis Magna was enlarged and embellished by Septimius Severus, who was born there and later became emperor. It was one of the most beautiful cities of the Roman Empire, with its imposing public monuments, harbour, market-place, storehouses, shops and residential districts.

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Arch of Septimius Severus, Leptis Magna Severan Basilica, Leptis Magna

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Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 19, 2012 at 05:27:38

Location Ghadames, Libya
Coordinates N30 7 60 E9 30 0
Date of Inscription 1986

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/362 )

Ghadamès, known as 'the pearl of the desert', stands in an oasis. It is one of the oldest pre-Saharan cities and an outstanding example of a traditional settlement. Its domestic architecture is characterized by a vertical division of functions: the ground floor used to store supplies; then another floor for the family, overhanging covered alleys that create what is almost an underground network of passageways; and, at the top, open-air terraces reserved for the women.

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Old Town of Ghadamès Street, Old Town of Ghadamès

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Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 18, 2012 at 07:00:52

Location District of Ghebel Akhdar, Libya
Coordinates N32 49 30 E21 51 29.988
Date of Inscription 1982

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/190 )

A colony of the Greeks of Thera, Cyrene was one of the principal cities in the Hellenic world. It was Romanized and remained a great capital until the earthquake of 365. A thousand years of history is written into its ruins, which have been famous since the 18th century.

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Temple of Zeus, Cyrene

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Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 14, 2012 at 04:22:43

Location Fezzan, Libya
Coordinates N24 49 59.988 E10 19 59.988
Date of Inscription 1985

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/287 )

On the borders of Tassili N'Ajjer in Algeria, also a World Heritage site, this rocky massif has thousands of cave paintings in very different styles, dating from 12,000 B.C. to A.D. 100. They reflect marked changes in the fauna and flora, and also the different ways of life of the populations that succeeded one another in this region of the Sahara.

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Libyan Desert, Tadrart Acacus Devonian Tadrart Formation, Tadrart Acacus

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Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, April 08, 2010 at 06:18:13

Location District of Zawia, Libya
Coordinates N32 48 19.008 E12 29 6
Date of Inscription 1982

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/184 )

A Phoenician trading-post that served as an outlet for the products of the African hinterland, Sabratha was part of the short-lived Numidian Kingdom of Massinissa before being Romanized and rebuilt in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D.

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Theatre, Sabratha Fresco, Sabratha

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