These modern office blocks on Tripoli seafront are nicknamed locally, the whisky bottles, as the locals believe that they resemble upturned Johnny Walker bottles. Not that many locals would ever have seen a real whisky bottle, however, as the sale of alcohol has been prohibited in Libya since 1969.
High up on the wall of the Red Fort, above the main gateway to the Medina, is a stone relief of St. George slaying the dragon, It was left there by the Knights of St. John in the sixteenth century. The cross which accompanied it was later removed by the Ottomans.
One of the first exhibits you will come across inside the National Jamahiriya Museum, ahead of the beautiful classsical sculptures and mosaics, is the battered old VW Beetle the Leader drove in the 1960s.
This Beetle has achieved almost legendary status now and a replica of it is featured in the English opera, "Gadaffi: A Living Myth."where Gadaffi makes his stage entrance and announces his coup against the monarchy by driving his VW Beetle through a paper screen.
Personally, I am not a great fan of VW Beetles, after having suffered the experience of owning one in Malaysia, where its lack of AC, lack even of a radiator to cool the engine, did not exactly endear me to it in the tropical heat. I remember on one long drive down the east coast, the engine caught on fire. But, I must say, to its credit, after I had thrown a bucket of water over it, surprisingly, it restarted.
In Gallery 8 on the ground floor of Tripoli's National Jamahiriya Museum is one of the great art treasures of the classical world: the statue of the Three Graces from the Ancient Greek city of Cyrene, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site in eastern Libya.
This marble sculpture of the three mythical daughters of Zeus, personifying grace, beauty and charm, dates back to the third century BC. A marble relief copy of it, from the 1st century BC, now stands in the Louvre in Paris. But nothing compares to the original version in Libya.
In Greek mythology the Graces, named Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia, were the attendants of Aphrodite and Eros and the companions of the Muses. They sang and danced on Mount Olympus to the music Apollo made upon his lyre. They were believed to inspire artists to create beautiful works of art and in this particular case they appear to have succeeded!
In Gallery 11 at the National Jamahiriya Museum are a series of stone reliefs removed from the surface of the Arch of Septimus Severus at Leptis Magna. They are in excellent condition.
Initially, I thought that removing them from the arch was an act of vandalism. But, on reflection, if they had been left in situ, they would have been weathered away by the elements. You only have to look at the eroded stone reliefs on the Arch of Marcus Aurelius to see how badly they fare when left outside. The same applies to mosaics. The ones that have been left outside in their original locations are very badly faded, whereas the ones in the museum are much better preserved.
Most visitors to Tripoli drive straight through Janzur en route to Sabratha, maybe noting the holiday village on the beach and, if they're there in winter, the orange sellers along the roadside. Few stop, and so miss one of the most extraordinary places in Libya, for, under the urban sprawl of the old town that nowadays is rapidly being swallowed by the sprawl of Tripoli, you can stand at threshold of the netherworld of Roman ideas of the afterlife.
A complex of Roman tombs lies underneath the small Janzur museum. First discovered in 1958, with a further discovery in 1960, they contained many burials and cremations dating from the 1st to the 3rd century CE. Several of the bodies clutched a gold coin in one hand - the fee for the ferryman who would row them across the Styx, the river that divided the living world from Hades.
One tomb is decorated with a remarkable series of frescoes that depict the passage of the soul to the world of the dead - guarded by angels under a flowerbedecked and garlanded roof. (photo 1). The shades of the departed, ghostly figures of grey and black, await the newly dead as the are rowed across the Styx, leaving their world of colour and life behind them (photo 2 - click for the full panorama). The Labours of Hercules are also depicted in fresco.(photo 3)
The tomb (photo 4) may be accessed through the museum which displays many of the grave goods that were found when the tombs were excavated. There is a small entry charge, (photos extra). The museum lies on the south side of the road to Sabratha, about 14 km from the centre of Tripoli. Visiting the tombs can easily be combined with a visit to Sabratha
And when we are back in old England,
When this war is over and won,
Remember the lads left behind us
Under the Libyan sun.
The graves of 1400 Commonwealth and Allied casualties of World War II lie in the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Tripoli. Like all cemeteries maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, this is a haven of peace and tranquillity, the simple white graves laid out in rows surrounded by immaculate green lawns. Most of the graves are British, but there are also Australians (photo 1), New Zealanders, Canadians, South Africans and Indians buried here as well. There are a few non-Commonwealth graves also. A tall white Cross of Sacrifice (photo 2)in the middle of the cemetery memorializes all who gave their lives, including those whose graves lie unmarked and unknown in the Libyan desert.
The cemetery is located about 2km to the south-west of the medina,between Shariahs al Sour and al Jamhuriyah (photo 3), in the rear section of the Christian cemetery. The cemetery is walled and may look closed but you should be able to push the gates open.
Open for viewing: Spacious Gentleman's residence with uninterrupted sea views. Built to the highest specifications utilizing the most up-to-date building methods. Luxuriously appointed and decorated. State of the art plumbing to all bathrooms. Featuring exquisitely frescoed walls together with craftsman-laid mosaic floors and outdoor terraces. Marble-lined private temple. Wonderfully peaceful location 25 km outside the city. A classic home that will stand the test of time.
If ever they find a Roman estate agent's office under the unexcavated mounds of Leptis Magna, this ad for Villa Sileen could well be carved into one of the walls. Whoever the patrician Roman citizen was who lived here, he had found his own little corner of paradise.
All this beauty lay hidden for centuries under the dry, clean sand of the dunes - a wonderful preservative. When it was finally discovered in the latter half of the last century, the Libyan Department of Antiquities took enornous care over its preservation. For many years access was extremely restricted and even today, although the villa is now open to visitors, getting there is not easy. If you plan to make a private visit, your tickets, and a guide, must be collected from the ticket office in Leptis Magna ( and the guide returned there after your visit). Then you have a 25km journey back to the villa down a completely isolated road - public transport is not an option here.
Photography is allowed - the usual camera charge of 5LD applies.
Believe me - Villa Sileen is worth all the effort it takes to get there. The chances of you being there on your own are excellent and the peace and beauty of the place will bowl you over.
O.K. so not every one is exitied about seeing a monstrous piece of engineering like this Bulldozer.....but i assure you there is something interesting for everyone in this fair and is a pleasure to visit.
Once every year in Tripoli the municapilty hold an International Trade fair were a lot of people in and around libya would certainly visit. All kind of products are exibited in this trade fair which is situated in the city of Tripoli itself.
One day Libya will be one of the major tourists destinations once its tourist infrastructure is finished and setup.The 2,000km of coastel beaches will be utilised and developed for the tourism industry .
Some years ago as my Libyan business counterparts were taking me around in Libya outside Tripoli they had great pride to show me this tourist complex constructed in Girgex a town outside Tripoli.....there were even some swedish girls playing tennis...very interesting....and that really made my day complete!!
I don't know what to call beaten and of the beaten paths in place like this, but visit the embassies quarter. I don't think any tour leads here, and unless you're not in troubles (and it's better not to be in troubles in Libya) no one goes here. The embassies quarter is another face of Tripoli. Lots of trees, clean streets, lovely colonial buildings and a park. Nice place to rest.
After 2 days of rain the dams in the wadis (valleys) south of Tripoli are holding back a large amount of water and you can see the result in the photo. A great place to relax.
High up on the side of Red Castle overlooking Green Square is the balcony from which Mussolini gave his speeches when he was in Tripoli. Gadaffi now uses the same balcony for his speeches.