The original Greek theatre dates from the 6th century BC and was built to present music and plays.
In the 2nd century AD, the Romans converted it to an amphitheatre, adding more tiers so that it could now seat 1000 spectators.
One of the earliest temples in Cyrene, it dates back to the 6th century BC. The temple was graced with 34 columns.
A statue of Aplollo was found here and is now in the British museum.
The temple has been rebuilt since its origin, first in the 4th century BC and also after the being damaged during the Jewish revolt between 115 and 117 AD. What you can see today is mostly a 2nd century AD Roman building in the Greek Doric style.
The Roman god of wine and intoxication and was accompanied by Maenads, the wild dancing women.
Bacchanalia, orgies in honor of Dionysus, were introduced in Rome around 200 BCE. These infamous celebrations, notorious for their sexual and criminal character, got so out of hand that they were forbidden by the Roman Senate in 186 BCE.
Bacchus was also the god of the theatre, and the first plays in Greece were performed in his honour. There were mostly tragedies, but alos comedies, which poked pun at politicians and were often very disrespectful.
Bacchus was known as Dionysus in Greek mythology.
A small thermal complex was built in the 5th century around a natural spring. There are niches built into the rock where oil lamps would have been placed.
The faithful would come here and take their ablutions in the holy water, then they would walk seven times around the temples. The number seven was symbolic as Apollo was born on the seventh day. A goat would be sacrificed and the meat given to the poor. The liver would be handed to the priest - he was said to be able to read the future in the liver.
Demeter was the god of agriculture, and this was the site of wild annual parties and celebrations. Sacrifices would have been carried out here, making offerings to the goddesses. The statues were added later by the Romans.
Steps lead down to an underground cavity where questions would have been asked of an oracle.
This smallish Greek theatre was only discovered two years ago by archaorlogists who saw some steps in the hillside. The theatre is outside what was the city walls.
Only 40% of Cyrene has been excavated, there must be limitless treasures still buried ubder centuries of earth and rubble.
The Agora was the heart of the Greek city, serving as a public square. The square would have been lined with many shops and temples the area would have been a magnet for the rich and powerful inhabitants of Cyrene.
Cladius Tiberius Jason Magnus was the high priest of the Temple of Apollo in the 2nd century AD, and his imperssive private residence is really worth a visit.
The floor of the dining room is still covered with marble, and there are fine mosaics.
For more pictures of the beautiful private residence, see the Travelogue below.
The fact that Cyrene had at least four theatres shows the importance the city carried at that time.
This theatre was found just beside the Gymnasium and was built during the Roman time in the 2nd century AD.
The outside wall of the Gymnasium was adorned with alternate statues of Hercules and Hermes, symbolising the strength of Hercules and the speed of Hermes in order to aid the vistory of the competitors inside the arena.
The Hellenistic Gymnasium was later converted to a Forum by the Romans. It was originally constructed in the 2nd century in Doric style as the major sporting arena for the Greeks. During the Roman period, major politcal meetings would be held here and the Temple to Bacchus in the centre would have served as a bar where the nobility could enjoy a drink.
The arena would have been surrounded by peristyle columns on all four sides, and access would have been through two monumental gateways.
The mosaics shows Satyr and a Nymph.
In Greek mythology, one of the gods, Pan, was a Satyr, half man, half goat, usually shown with a beard, horns and goats ears.
He was prone to drinking, partying an lusting after women. Much like any other male then.
An important part of Dionysus' entourage, and here he is shown with a young Dionysus.
The mosaics were found in the House of Jason Magnus.
In Greek mythology, Aphrodite was the goddess of love, beauty, fertility and sexual rapture. She was also a protectress of sailors.
She was born when Uranus (the father of the gods) was castrated by his son Cronus. Cronus threw the severed genitals into the ocean which began to foam - from this foam arose Aphrodite and the sea carried her to Cyprus.
The statue is from the Trajan period, before Hadrian's reconstruction of the theatre.
Aphrodite loved and was loved by many gods and mortals. Among her mortal lovers, the most famous was perhaps Adonis.
Demeter was the goddess of agriculture and fertility and her symbols were the sceptre, torch and corn (grain). As the patron deity of agriculture, Demeter was accordingly worshipped with festivals and there are many myths about Demeter in her capacity as a fertility goddess.
This statue, from the Hellenistic period, would have been fashioned by two seperate artists - one created the body and another the head.
Jupiter was the supreme god of the Roman pantheon, the king of the gods. Jupiter means Father Jove. He was a god of light and sky, and protector of the state and its laws. His weapon was the Thunderbolt and most of the other gods were terrified of him, although he himself was in awe of his wife Juno! He obtained his power by overthowing his father Cronus and the Titans from Olympus. He was the son of Saturn and brother of Neptune and Juno (who is also his wife).
Jupiter is completely identical with the Greek Zeus
This statue from the Roman period was found in the Capitol.