March 25, 2006 – Saturday – Sabratha, Libya
Today on our first full day in Libya, we travel to the ancient Roman city of Sabratha, about 80km west of Tripoli.
Sabratha’s golden age can be traced to the era when four Roman emperors reigned: Antonius Pius (AD 138-61), Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (AD 161-80), Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus (AD 180-92), and finally Septimus Severus (Ad 193-211).
Sabratha was part of the Phoenician, Greek and Roman empires, among others. The first thing you see as you walk through the gates is the Sabratha Theatre to your right across a meadow, with glimpses of the blue Mediterranean Sea behind it. This theatre is without a doubt the most impressive Roman stone theatre to be found anywhere, including the theatre in the sister city of Leptis Magna. It has been beautifully restored, and the location close to the shoreline of the Mediterranean sets off the beautiful stonework. Theatrical productions continue to be staged here today, and I can understand why, since acoustics are impeccable in Roman-designed theatres.
Despite everyone expecting to feel jet-lag from our long flights yesterday, the group did very well covering this huge site. I really didn’t appreciate the scale of this ancient coastal city.