Cyrene Travel Blog› entry 16 of 22 › view all entries
We have a full day to explore the magnificent archaeological remains of
Cyrene (Shah’hat) and Apollonia (Sousa), two of the five ‘Pentapolis’
We start with a guided tour of Cyrene, the second most important
site in Libya after Leptis Magna. Surrounded by pine forest, the site
dates back to the 7th century BC, founded by Greek adventurers who
came from Santorini Island. By the 5th century BC it was one of the
largest cities in Africa. Following the fall of the Greek Empire, the city
was ruled by Ptolemy from Egypt and then passed into Roman hands
and incorporated into the Roman Empire.
Cyrene’s cultural influences
and historical events are reflected in the ruins of the Temples of Zeus
and Apollo, the Gymnasium, the Great Baths, the vast area of the
Agora, the Greek Theatre and the Acropolis. We then descend from the
mountains to the Mediterranean coast and the remains of Apollonia.
Originally Cyrene’s harbour and impressively located on the edge of the
sea, the city became the capital of Upper Libya as Cyrene declined following its destruction after the Jewish revolt of 115AD.