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The Mediterranean Sea in Libya

What to do in Libya

Visit the Greek and Roman ruins

Statue of Medusa, upturned
Statue of Medusa, upturned

Lying at the crossroads of civilization, Libya is a country filled with traces of a rich and powerful past.

Remnants of Greek and Roman cities can be found in archaeological sites such as Leptis Magna, Sabratha, and Cyrene. Even the oasis town of Ghadames, which the Berbers have now taken possession of, was once a Roman outpost.

Beneath the piles of fallen stones, broken statues, fallen temples, and eroded residences, artifacts and echoes of once-grandiose cities can be found.

For those seeking a glimpse into the glory of the great ancient civilizations, Libya is an excellent place to visit, for it offers its visitors a lot of opportunities to do just that.

 

Camp out in the Sahara Desert

Awbari sand dunes
Awbari sand dunes

Around 90% of Libya lies in the Sahara, making the country an ideal destination if you want to see the desert.

Some of the most interesting features of the desert are the sand dunes. Idhan Awbari, near the town of Sabha, is known for its magnificent sand dunes that rise above the pockets of oasis.

The wind-carved rock formations in the Tadrart Acacus may appear strange and bizarre to some people, but that’s what makes them especially interesting.

Scattered oases provide a refreshing break from the barren expanse of Libya’s heartland. Many have remained uninhabited for centuries, while a few, such as Ghadames and Kufra, have become cradles of civilization.

The oasis at Gaberoun not only offers one a chance to take a dip in its salty lake; a camp out under the stars lets you relive the times when caravans used to stop in these places, to rest for the night.

 

See the prehistoric rock paintings

Men hunting ox, Tadrart Acacus
Men hunting ox, Tadrart Acacus

Once upon a time, the Sahara was green, and animals such as giraffes, elephants, and wildebeests grazed here. Men lived in caves or thatched huts made of wood. They fashioned tools with flint and bones, and spent the day hunting animals for food.

At night, perhaps after their meals were eaten, they would gather around a rock. Using their stone tools, they would engrave pictures to depict their everyday life, to preserve a memory, to leave instructions for their children and grandchildren to follow.

Along the geologic timeline, rain stopped falling on the Sahara. Lakes dried up and rivers disappeared. Animals died, and so did the early humans. But their drawings lived on.

Today, what is left are the hand-drawn paintings of animals, of men hunting for food, of a tribe gathering around a camp fire, to dance for all of us who have lived throughout the ages, to remember.

This UNESCO World Heritage site is found deep in the mountains of Tadrart Acacus and can be accessed from the oasis town of Ghat.

 

Look at the fallen Colonel’s monuments

Muammar Gaddafi billboard

Muammar Gaddafi, once dubbed Africa’s King of Kings, lived an interesting life. He seized power through a bloodless coup in 1969. He sent the kings of Libya to exile, tried to unite the warring leaders of the Arab world, brokered peace in far-flung lands, made his enemies disappear, had word wars with the leaders of the free world, and, in the end, met a brutal death at the hands of his people.

His passing meant a sea change in a country he ruled for more than 40 years.

You can still hear echoes of Libya’s immediate past once you step inside Benghazi’s Museum of the Crimes of the Dictator. This building used to be the palace where King Idris declared Libya’s independence from Italy in 1951.

Inside the museum, there is Gaddafi artwork on display. You will also see part of a jet plane that was destroyed while the pilot flying it tried to defend the city against Gaddafi’s armed forces.

 

Visit the “other side” of the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean Sea in Libya
The Mediterranean Sea in Libya

Thera, Ibiza, and Hvar – these are only a few of the more renowned tourist spots near the Mediterranean Sea. People flock to these seaside places because their names are so prominent in tourist brochures.

But the Mediterranean has another face – the Maghreb side in Libya, where the coast remains undisturbed. Bedecked with ruins from forgotten times, the pervading silence invites people to set foot on the same ground where ancient Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and Arabs once also stood, watching the waves.