Watch out the guards speak English

Leptis Magna Travel Blog

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The seat from the top

Today starts a bit different from the previous weeks - my backs are on the flour of the hotel room and still unpacked - well they are not all that unpacked given we just came the night before. But this is the first and only two night stay in the same place of the entire tour - hence you notice the convenience of not having to pack your back and put it back on a bus of 4WD. After breakfast we all head of it is an early morning drive to the old city of Leptis Magna it is a bit more than an hour away from Tripoli. And out there is an old Roman city left from centuries ago.

 

At the sight we will get a guided tour by a local guide who used to be a professor at the university in Tripoli.

Looking at the Septimus Severius arch from an angel
But he had had to leave back in the 80s because of political reasons. As the tour carries on we realize that this guide is absolutely an outstanding guide with lots of information - and it soon becomes clear why he had to leave the university from political reasons. The only thing we wonder about is not why he had to leave - but how come this man is still alive. He does not come with any direct criticism of the current regime in Libya but he keeps giving really great sarcastic commentary which leaves no doubt about his true feelings about the regime in Libya. It is great finally to meet somebody who does not praise The Leader as a god like figure who can do no wrong - leading the country in the right direction all the time.

 

We start at the museum to get a quick introduction to the place and see some of the artefacts they have found around the place.

Picture of the Hadrian Bath like they used to look
After this quick tour we go to the amphitheatre which is build into the ground. Originally there used to be a old quarry at the spot where they places the amphitheatre but that had stopped being of use and hence the locals thought - hey it is a lot easier to build this building down in the ground instead of building it on top of the ground. Therefore an amphitheatre below ground level.

 

The amphitheatre is actually a bit away from the main part of the town hence we have to drive back - on the way we pass by the old harbour which today is just a part of the ruins but used to host a military installation - hence a few year back taking a photo of the old harbour would have gotten you a few years studying the inside of a Libyan jail cell.

 

At the entrance to the main sight we get a quick lunch - of course the prices is somewhat higher than the standard the usual 'Libyan prices but it is still relatively cheap compared to home.

Big pool area at Hadrian Baths

 

Going in to the main city the first thing we meat is an intersection with the arch of Severius Septimus the local born emperor of Rome. His arch is at the main intersection in town and unusual for the time you could not drive through the arch - you had to drive around it - a very early roundabout.

 

After the arch from several sides - it is most impressive when you look at it from an angle and not straight towards it. We move on to the Hadrian Bath. In front of the baths is a small group of guard who are supposed to take care of the park. They are cooking lunch - they seem to be enjoying themselves. Just after we pass them we see lots of trash - the leftovers from their picnic lunch arrangement.

One end of the bassilica
Our guide tells us loudly in English this is how the local guards take care of the old city - they just through their trash everywhere - unlike guards in Europe protecting the sights against tourist throwing trash it is the opposite way around in Libya. Then he starts to tell us about the Hadrian Bath. A few moments later the guards come towards us half way yelling at our guide - a heated discussion in Arabic starts between our guide and our tour leader on the one side and the guards on the other - we got no clue what is going on. Then the guide returns and tells us - well one of the guards actually speak English and were quite mad that he had told us the truth about them spreading their trash around the park. The guide had had to promise to tell us that of course they would clean up there mess after them - yeah like that were ever gonna happen.

 

Of we go down to the coast where there are three big old columns.

They could do it 2000 years ago - get the columns transported by sea - 120 years ago they had to give up. So much for technological progress
They were ship to the old town in ancient times from far far away. Then the French tried to move them to France back in the 19th century - but they could only get them to the beach - when they tried to move them onboard the boat they had to give up shipping them to France - hence now more than a hundred years later the three big columns still lay at the beach like a beach whale not able to get out on the sea - or back to the sight they were taken from.

 

Walking around town is interesting in many ways - it shows you how dedicated some of the old citizens of the town actually were in the ancient times. Several of the buildings got some sort of inscription saying something like "I xx build this with my own money". The leading citizens of the town wanted it to be the most amazing town in the world and they were ready to pay large amounts to do it.

Stage of the theatre
One of the examples of this would be the big new market build by a single citizen of the town - and not by the authorities.

 

The tour ends at the big theatre of the town from where you can see most of the surrounding town. Then it is time to go back - but we pass the big intersection with the magnificent arch in honour of Septimus Severus and this time we can see it right up front and not from a distance as we did when we got into the town. Then it is back to Tripoli where we go to the old town for a farewell dinner as the tour of Libya is about to come to the end.


Koralifix says:
Nice entry & cool photos!
Posted on: Mar 24, 2009
sylviandavid says:
very informative and funny blog....
Posted on: Jan 25, 2008
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The seat from the top
The seat from the top
Looking at the Septimus Severius a…
Looking at the Septimus Severius …
Picture of the Hadrian Bath like t…
Picture of the Hadrian Bath like …
Big pool area at Hadrian Baths
Big pool area at Hadrian Baths
One end of the bassilica
One end of the bassilica
They could do it 2000 years ago - …
They could do it 2000 years ago -…
Stage of the theatre
Stage of the theatre
Sunrise from the hotel
Sunrise from the hotel
Sunrise from the hotel
Sunrise from the hotel
Sunrise from the hotel
Sunrise from the hotel
Sunrise from the hotel
Sunrise from the hotel
Amforas in the museum at Leptis Ma…
Amforas in the museum at Leptis M…
No statues outside - hence need to…
No statues outside - hence need t…
Headless statue in the museum
Headless statue in the museum
Headless statues
Headless statues
And now heads without statues
And now heads without statues
A translation of different messure…
A translation of different messur…
A fish which were sacraficed to th…
A fish which were sacraficed to t…
The see from just before getting t…
The see from just before getting …
Closer look at some of the seat
Closer look at some of the seat
And here is the shady seats
And here is the shady seats
The entrance to the amphitheatre s…
The entrance to the amphitheatre …
View of the sea from the amphithea…
View of the sea from the amphithe…
The main entrance road
The main entrance road
Looking in at the entrance
Looking in at the entrance
The route to the seats - or maybe …
The route to the seats - or maybe…
Getting in to the stage
Getting in to the stage
The seats of the amphitheatre
The seats of the amphitheatre
The seats of the amphitheatre
The seats of the amphitheatre
The seats of the amphitheatre
The seats of the amphitheatre
Down there is the amphitheatre
Down there is the amphitheatre
The old harbour area
The old harbour area
Closer look at the old harbour
Closer look at the old harbour
The old harbour area
The old harbour area
Looking to town from the harbour
Looking to town from the harbour
Looking to town from the harbour
Looking to town from the harbour
View from the old harbour
View from the old harbour
First look at the Septimus Severiu…
First look at the Septimus Severi…
Looking from the entrance at the S…
Looking from the entrance at the …
Looking at the Septimus Severius a…
Looking at the Septimus Severius …
Looking closely at the arch
Looking closely at the arch
Looking at the Septimus Severius a…
Looking at the Septimus Severius …
The other cross road at the arch
The other cross road at the arch
Looking towards the Hadrian Bath -…
Looking towards the Hadrian Bath …
The Hadrian Barh complex
The Hadrian Barh complex
Top of one column
Top of one column
Top of a row of colums - nice Aswa…
Top of a row of colums - nice Asw…
One arch at the entrance to the ba…
One arch at the entrance to the b…
Top of columns
Top of columns
Big pool area at Hadrian Baths
Big pool area at Hadrian Baths
Big pool area at Hadrian Baths
Big pool area at Hadrian Baths
Inside the Hadrian Bath a small po…
Inside the Hadrian Bath a small p…
Hadrian Bath a bigger building
Hadrian Bath a bigger building
Yeah I know I got a tendency to ov…
Yeah I know I got a tendency to o…
More toilets - ok maybe this is a …
More toilets - ok maybe this is a…
A close look at the toilet
A close look at the toilet
A big fountain in the city
A big fountain in the city
Close look at the corner of the fo…
Close look at the corner of the f…
Liked the double columns in the co…
Liked the double columns in the c…
The side of the fountain
The side of the fountain
This is a part of the fountain now…
This is a part of the fountain no…
A lion just sitting on a piece of …
A lion just sitting on a piece of…
Looking at the main forum in Lepti…
Looking at the main forum in Lept…
Looking at the main forum in Lepti…
Looking at the main forum in Lept…
Looking at the main forum in Lepti…
Looking at the main forum in Lept…
An uninteresting photo? Noway very…
An uninteresting photo? Noway ver…
And a close look at the connection…
And a close look at the connectio…
Good girl
Good girl
Bad girl
Bad girl
The bad girls at the forum - the B…
The bad girls at the forum - the …
The backwall of the forum
The backwall of the forum
The inside of the bassilica
The inside of the bassilica
One end of the bassilica
One end of the bassilica
Handiwork in the bassilica
Handiwork in the bassilica
Handiwork in the bassilica
Handiwork in the bassilica
Other end of the bassilica
Other end of the bassilica
Other end of the bassilica
Other end of the bassilica
Main room of the bassilica - taken…
Main room of the bassilica - take…
Main room of the bassilica - taken…
Main room of the bassilica - take…
The carvings in the bassilica - no…
The carvings in the bassilica - n…
Behind the bassilica
Behind the bassilica
Columns behind the bassilica
Columns behind the bassilica
The columns the French could not g…
The columns the French could not …
The market - build by a rich man
The market - build by a rich man
The main building at the market
The main building at the market
Close up of the main building
Close up of the main building
The partly broken side of the mark…
The partly broken side of the mar…
Looking out from a spot just above…
Looking out from a spot just abov…
Looking down at the market from ab…
Looking down at the market from a…
Other part of the market
Other part of the market
A couple of archs on a road in Lep…
A couple of archs on a road in Le…
Temple behind the theatre
Temple behind the theatre
Temple behind the theatre
Temple behind the theatre
The seats of the theatre from the …
The seats of the theatre from the…
Seat and stage of the theatre
Seat and stage of the theatre
Seats taken from the top of the th…
Seats taken from the top of the t…
Close look at the stage of the the…
Close look at the stage of the th…
View from the top of the theatre -…
View from the top of the theatre …
The seat in the theatre once again
The seat in the theatre once again
Close look at the stage from the s…
Close look at the stage from the …
Temple behind the theatre
Temple behind the theatre
The outside of the theatre
The outside of the theatre
Well I think I let you figure out …
Well I think I let you figure out…
The top of the Septimus Severus ar…
The top of the Septimus Severus a…
The last climse of the arch - the …
The last climse of the arch - the…
Leptis Magna Sights & Attractions review
If you should drop down Tripoli for just a day this is the place to go. Not that you will be that likely to actually just drop by with the current v… read entire review
Leptis Magna
photo by: Saskia007