How Queen Elizabeth could face legal action in an effort to repatriate 2,000-year-old ruins from Leptis Magna…
A forgotten historical gem in Libya is the best kept Roman ruin outside of Italy.
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.”
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.
Barriers are daunting, armed militias, weak government, jihadi terrorism, but minister at tourism expo believes in the long game10 holidays that come with travel warnings…
Costa del Libya? Influential travel survey moots war-torn state as new holiday hotspot; Chris Leadbeater; Daily Mail
Libya could be a holiday hotspot of the near future, according to t survey of influential travel industry figures released this week – despite the troubled country’s recent civil war.
Libya boasts a rich cultural heritage; Palaeolithic rock paintings, Greek and Roman ruins and ancient desert oases. These historic treasures, including six UNESCO World Heritage sites, have suffered years of neglect and most recently the perils of conflict.
Source: Protecting Libya’s heritage