Tag: LY – Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna

Famed Libyan ruins that should be a top tourist destination; Reuters

Libya – Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna

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.”

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23 December 2016 – Unlikely saviors of Libya’s Roman remains; Imed Lamloum; AFP

Libya – Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna

Leptis Magna (AFP) — Ali Hribish stands by the Arch of Septimius Severus which dominates Libya’s ancient city of Leptis Magna, brandishing letters of thanks for his efforts to protect the site.

The former electricity company employee in his 50s has become the Roman city’s unlikely saviour, protecting it from looting and vandalism as chaos rocks the country following the 2011 downfall of dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Despite having no background in archaeology, Hribish gathered a band of fighters who dedicated themselves to preserving the ancient Roman city, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

While others set up armed groups to protect banks and public buildings, “we immediately thought of Leptis Magna,” says Ashraf Mohammed, 33, one of the first fighters to join Hribish’s group.

“A bank can be rebuilt, but our monuments and our history are things we can’t replace,” he says.

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