Leptis Magna

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2006.03.26 - Sunday - Leptis Magna - We travel the 120km to the Leptis Magna ruins from Tripoli today. It looks like Fatid (from Numidia Tours) will be our tour leader throughout our stay in Libya, and again, we also have a member of the Tourist Police on board. Part way to Leptis Magna we pass through a check point, and papers are given to the officials before we proceed.

Like Sabrata, Leptis Magna is a huge ancient city located on the Mediterranean Sea. It is a much bigger city than Sabrata. There is a huge arch at the entrance to the city erected by Septimus Severus, who was the emperor of the Roman Empire for several years, and who was a resident of the city at the time.


Arch of Septimus Severus, Cardo Maximus , Leptis Magna

Relief carvings, Arch of Septimus Severus, Leptis Magna

Artist's impression of how Leptis Magna would have looked

The Natatio's open air pool still holds water, Hadriactic Baths, Leptis Magna

Wood-fired water heating system, Hadrianic Baths, Leptis Magna

Raised floor hypocaust heating system for the Laconica, or sweat room, Hadrianic Baths, Leptis Magna

The Hadrianic Baths were made possible by a gift of water through an aqueduct by the Emperor Hadrian in AD 137.  The Baths were a social centre for the city. Decorative statutes found in the Baths are now displayed in the Jamahiriya Museum in Tripoli.


Roman public toilets, Leptis Magna

The Market, Leptis Magna

Medusa in marble, The Forum of Severus, Leptis Magna

Shops along the perimeter of the Forum of Severus, Leptis Magna

Medusa in marble, The Forum of Severus, Leptis Magna

The Severan Forum is 60m by 100m, and in the tradition of Roman city squares was surrounded by colonnaded porticoes. This new forum was the centre of entertainment for the city.


Basilica beside the Forum of Severus, Leptis Magna

Decorated pillars in the Basilica beside the Forum of Severus, Leptis Magna

Stone tablet, Leptis Magna

The Severan Basilica is 40m by 92m and was built by Septimus Severus and his son Caracalla in AD 216. The basilica is adjacent to the Severus Forum, and was used as a House of Justice. The pillar decorations honour Hercules and Liber Patre (Dionysius).


Leptis Magna Theatre

Leptis Magna Theatre

Theatre stage, Leptis Magna Theatre

The road to the theatre, Leptis Magna

Two roads leading to the theatre, Leptis Magna

The theatre at Leptis Magna is the second largest in the Roman Empire; the largest being the one at Sabratha. It was built in the era of Antoninus Pius (AD 138-161). The stage was decorated with hundreds of statues of important people of the time. Note the three semi-circular recesses at the back of the stage area.


Leptis Magna Harbour

The eastern quay, Leptis Magna Harbour

The Harbour originally had a 35m high lighthouse.  The eastern quay's buildings are relatively intact, mainly because they saw little use. The harbour silted up only a few years after it was built, so it seems the Romans had the engineering to build a harbour, but not to dredge it!


Bronze statue Septimus Severus,
outside the Leptis Magna Museum

Huge painting of Mu'ammar Gaddafi,
Leptis Magna Museum
Stone carvings, Leptis Magna Museum
Stone carvings,
Leptis Magna Museum

Marble statue,
Leptis Magna Museum

The museum at Leptis Magna is excellent, however the more impressive statues and other artifacts are held the Jamahiriya Museum in Tripoli, so I have only posted a few photos from the Leptis Magna museum on this page.

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Next >>>  Jamahiriya Museum, Tripoli

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