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Cyrene City Guide - The Oldest Greek City In Libya

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Cyrene Libya, an ancient Greek city, the oldest and most important of the five in the region, lying in the scenic lush valley of Libya‘s Jebel Akhdar uplands with unobscured views to the Mediterranean Sea, was once an important site for trade.

Cyrene Libya

A thriving community from its very beginning, because of the fertility of the region, its flocks, herds and especially its horses were famous. It had an abundance of precious metals, from which it produced its coinage, featuring the medicinal herb for which it was known, silphium. The port of Apollonia, 16 km (10 mi) from Cyrene Libya, was on an important trading route.

It is now an important archeological site near the village of Shahhat. More than 76 Roman statues dating back to the 2nd century AD were found here in 2005. According to architects, so many of the statues remained undiscovered for such a long period because a supporting wall of the temple fell on its side during an earthquake in 365, burying them. The statues remained hidden under stone, rubble and earth for 1,600 years, protected from the elements.

One of Cyrene‘s more significant features is the Temple of Apollo, originally constructed in the seventh century BC, and rebuilt three centuries later. The Great Baths of the Temple of Apollo are in exceptional condition, with their pipes still visible. About 50 m (165 ft) from the temple, lies the Fountain of Apollo, whose waters were once considered to be curing. Inside, one can still see the seats of the treatment rooms.

At the extreme north-west is the Roman theatre, which stands on Greek foundations and is partly Greek in style. The theatre’s setting is stunning, with hills behind the stage falling down to the landscape stretching out to the sea.

Lion statue, Sanctuary of Apollo, Cyrene, Libya

Lion statue, Sanctuary of Apollo, Cyrene, Libya

Other ancient ruins include a Temple of Demeter and a partially unexcavated Temple of Zeus. There is a large necropolis part-way from Cyrene on the road to Apollonia. There are still hundreds of tombs cut into the hills here, many in the shape of mausoleums or temples.

In the centre of Cyrene Libya, in the Agora, or town square, is the Tomb of Battus, as well as the Forum of Proculus, which remains in relatively good condition.

Cyrene Libya was originally a colony of the Greek people of Thera, modern-day Santorini, established in 630 BC by Aristotle (later called Battus). In a strategic location between Egypt and Carthage, the city promptly became the chief town of the Libyan region until its demise following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC.

The ruins, which are only partly excavated, are in incredible condition, the floor mosaics still clearly visible and the foundation structures largely intact. The earthquake of 365 destroyed the majority of the city, and its ruins were left to decay. If you’re lucky you may be able to find your own undiscovered treasure!

What Is Cyrene Libya

The oldest Greek city in this area of Libya.

Where Is Cyrene Libya

At the beginning of the beautiful Jabalu l-Akhdar, facing the Mediterrannean – 75 km from Derna, 20 km (12 mi) from Apollonia and 25km (15.5 mi) from Al Bavda

Historical Significance Of Cyrene Libya

More than 76 Roman statues and extensive Roman ruins.

How To Get To Cyrene Libya

Buses and taxis between Al-Bayda and Shahat.

Cyrene Libya Also Known As

‘Cyrenaica’

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Cyrene City Guide – The Oldest Greek City In Libya: Leptis Magna Libya

Cyrene City Guide – The Oldest Greek City In Libya: The Ruins Of Ancient Roman Amphi Theatre In Leptis Magna In Libya

Cyrene City Guide – The Oldest Greek City In Libya: Triumphal Arch To Commemorate Septimus Severis At The Roman Ruins Of Leptis Magna In Libya

Cyrene City Guide – The Oldest Greek City In Libya: The Ruins Of Ancient Roman Leptis Magna In Libya

Cyrene City Guide – The Oldest Greek City In Libya: Lion statue, Sanctuary of Apollo, Cyrene, Libya

Cyrene City Guide – The Oldest Greek City In Libya: Ruins Of Sabratha Libya

Cyrene City Guide – The Oldest Greek City In Libya: Narrow Canyon In The Akakus Mountains Sahara Desert Libya

Cyrene City Guide – The Oldest Greek City In Libya: Ruins of Cyrene, Libya

Cyrene City Guide – The Oldest Greek City In Libya: Sanctuary of Apollo, Cyrene, Libya

Cyrene City Guide – The Oldest Greek City In Libya: Temple of Zeus, Cyrene, Libya


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