Leptis Magna

As I said in my last post, a couple of weeks ago we headed about 120km east to the ruins of the Roman settlement at Leptis Magna. It was pretty bloody warm but worth the trip and we'll definately be ehaded out that way again when it's cooler.

We started out from the infamous Thobacts Hotel with me driving, the guide didn’t seem to mind although he had offered to drive. Given that I wanted to know how to get there for the next time, we braved my driving (or is it the driving of the others on the road?) and headed off. I need not have been so concerned about navigating for the next trip as there’s only one road and if you miss the turn off at Al Khums, Benghazi beckons about 6 hours later.

Go take a look at Wikipedia for a full history of the place but the long and short of it is that it’s the home town of the only African born Roman Emperor, Septimius Severus. Hence the main arch is the Arch of Septimius Severus and the town itself became the third most important place in the whole Empire. Not bad for somewhere that started out as a watering hole.

But, all good things must come to an end and Leptis Magna was Vandalised by Vandals (the tribe, not the Graffiti idiots) fell into ruins to be covered with sand until by archaeologists. The excavations have stopped for now and as far as I can find out, there are no plans for extensive digs to be carried out in the future.

The history is fascinating and thanks to the fact that it was hidden for so many years, it’s pretty much intact. The Arch of Septimius Severus has been extensively rebuilt, looking at the pictures showing the reconstruction it was almost completely ruined and scattered around the vicinity it’s in now.

The Roam Baths that are there are ingenious in their use of terra cotta pipes for heating the steam room. It’s amazing that way back then they had underfloor heating and central heating down to a fine art.

Don’t expect to be blown away by the souvenir shops or the facilities. They’re both fairly rudimentary

Anyway it’s very much worth the visit and the drive is fairly straightforward. Our guide, whom I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to visit anywhere in Libya, thought I drove like a local. Good or bad I am not sure but at least we survived.

Mrs Dadfap is back in Australia, the government here has appropriated many of the rooms in the “better” hotels for official guests for the 40th anniversary of the Revolution. Tripoli is a mess at the best of times, can you imagine what it’s going to be like with all of the road blocks etc. For official motorcades????????????

I found a saying on the net the other day that I’ve adapted to life here in Libya:

“Everything in Libya is logical, you just have to learn Libyan Logic!”