They are world-renowned and a Unesco heritage site. The catch? They are in Libya.
The limestone and marble ruins of Leptis Magna on Libya’s coast could be a hive of activity and a top tourist destination, but conflict has left one of ancient Rome’s great Mediterranean cities almost entirely cut off from the outside world.
Guards are unpaid and most visitors are local, with only the occasional handful of foreigners, including one or two intrepid tourists, making it to the site.
On weekdays, it is almost deserted, with only the odd group of local teenagers dotted among the expansive ruins.
“There’s something that remains of the tourist police, but they can’t protect it,” says 60-year-old Ali Hrebish, one of several dozen volunteer guards who “for God and country” help watch over the site. “We live here, we protect it.”