The main gate to the spectacular ruins of Leptis Magna near Al Khums, Libya

Rome in Africa. Ancient city Leptis Magna


Leptis Magna is the oldest city in Libya, which flourished during the Roman Empire

The ruins of the city are located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, 130 kilometers east of Tripoli in the city of Al-Khums. Because of its layout, this place was called "Rome in Africa". Presumably the city was founded around 1100 BC as a Phoenician colony and served as the main port of the region. The value of the city sharply increased in the IV century BC, with the growth of the power of Carthage. The city, although it recognized the protectorate of Carthage, remained independent, and was occupied by the Romans only after victory in the Third Punic War in 146 BC.

The city became part of the Roman province of Africa after the Battle of Thaps, when Julius Caesar put Pompeii's army to flight. During the reign of Augustus, the city began to acquire an image that it will preserve in subsequent times. He rebuilt in two main axes from the small river Wadi Lebda. For one century, thanks to the generosity of the local nobility, an old forum, a basilica, the Liber Pater temple, temples of Rome and Augustus and Hercules, as well as a large market, near which the theater was located, appeared in the city. In 126 under Trajan, Leptis became a colony and 17 years later, thanks to Adrian, he became attractive due to the term complex in the south-eastern part of the city.

The city reached its peak after 193, when the twentieth Roman emperor Septimius Severus, born in Leptis, led the empire. He took care of his hometown, which became one of the greatest cities of Roman Africa. An impressive 18 m wide avenue with columns was laid across the city, next to which new buildings appeared. To the west of this street, a new forum and a basilica of the North has grown. The city became one of the richest in the Mediterranean due to the export of ivory, exotic animals and locally produced products.

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The main gate to the spectacular ruins of Leptis Magna near Al Khums, Libya.

Leptis Magna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in North Africa, in the Tripolitan region of Libya

Founded by the Phoenicians in the 10th century BC as a commercial port, he survived the colonization of the Spartans, became a Roman city, and finally became part of a new Roman province, Africa, in about 23 BC. The stunning city of Leptis Magna, an outstanding center of commerce, culture and crafts, was built in the traditional Roman style.

The cultivation of olives contributed to the prosperity of the city, and Julius Caesar in 46 BC. taxed the city: three million pounds of olive oil a year. The prosperous city was robbed by the Berbers in 523, after which it was abandoned. During the construction of the city in various periods of history, a wide variety of materials were used. In the 1920s, magnificent remains of the city were discovered - perhaps the most magnificent of the remaining Roman ruins.

Archaeologists excavated a large theater built in the 1st century, under which there is a cemetery, probably dating back to the 4th or 3rd century BC. Roman constructions of II and the beginning of the III century are especially well preserved - among them are the graceful terms of Hadrian, a forum and a basilica erected during the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus (193-211). Despite the good condition of the monuments, Leptis Magna remains a place little known to tourists. The city is mainly interested in professional archaeologists.



One of the two largest layers of the cultural heritage of North Africa are those preserved in the ruins of the city of the ancient era. The ruins of the city of Cyrene (Libya), founded by Dorian colonists from Thera (Thira or Santorini) in the 7th century, belong to the monuments of the Greek-Hellenic culture. BC. In the Hellenistic period the city was ruled by the Ptolemies. In the center of the large-scale ruins of Cyrene, the altar is partially preserved, three rows of Apollo temple columns, statues of Aphrodite and Apollo, an amphitheater rising right above the precipice. Cyrene is located almost strictly to the south of Greece, and it is not by chance that this part of Africa was colonized by the Greeks, having received the name Libya from them.

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