Leptis Magna

Libya Travel Blog

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Continuing along the coast we reach Leptis Magna, the greatest and most extensive remains of any Roman city and archaeological site in Africa. Unlike many other ancient cities, Leptis Magna has kept its remains on a large scale and it is easy to imagine what a complete Roman city would have looked like, with its many Forums, Baths and numerous paved streets and triumphal arches. We take a guided tour of the main complex, visiting some of the 30 or so major monuments that have been restored, including the Forum, market and theatre.

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, Leptis Magna was founded by the Phoenicians in the 5th century BC, in an attempt to secure their eastern borders in the face of Greek expansion.

The city came under the domination of the Roman Empire following the third Punic War, reaching the zenith of its prosperity during the reign of Septimis Severus, a native of the town who become emperor in the 3rd century AD. Falling into decline following the invasion of the Vandals in the 5th century, much of Leptis Magna remained buried beneath the desert until the early years of the 20th century, when the Italian government began excavating the ruins. What they found defied the imagination, a complete Roman city preserved by the sand. Very few visitors are around. I saw just one other tour group in the whole site. An amazing place,one can only wonder at what it may have looked like in it's heyday.

Everything about Leptis Magna is on a grand scale, from the Severan Arch to the marble and granite panelled Baths of Hadrian, the largest outside Rome. The city was opulence on a grand scale with multicoloured marbles imported form Italy, Greece and Asia and huge granite columns from Egypt. We will also pay a visit to the almost completely intact structure of the gladiators ‘Circus’ Later we check in at our simple accommodation at Al- Khoms. 

pilgrim68 says:
It's a stunning place,absolutely huge. I'm glad I got to visit whilst it was still possible.
Posted on: Apr 20, 2016
jostravel says:
Yet another very well preserved site - it is amazing that all these columns all over the world haven't just fallen over in the wind - I guess things were built better back then :)
Posted on: Apr 20, 2016
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