Luggage and bags: Ghirza
Ghirza was an Arab town which developed and flourished during the early centuries A.D., in a semi desert area and in hard climatic conditions, only through the sheer will of the inhabitants.
Ghirza settlement is located in the Werfella area southeast of Tripoli one hour drive from the town of Beni Walid. It is bounded by Wadi Ghirza in the north before the latter meets Wadi Zamzam.
The origin of the name Ghirza is unknown, but it is probable that its original name was Gerisa, which is one of the towns in the Sirt area, listed by the historian Ptolemy. No other historical reference to the town has been found.
The ruins of Ghirza are considered archaeologically important in the Great Jamahiriya as they are built to a local pattern yet influenced by architectural styles prevailing at the end of the Hellenic era.
The tombs themselves belong to Libyan personalities, since the names of Fadil, Numera and Nasif were found engraved on the main tomb in the northern cemetery.
Also included in the ruins are a group of houses located on the left side of the wadi, 300 in. from the confluence with Wadi Zamzam. Yet another part of the ruins contains a group of cemeteries built in the form of temples and obehisks. The first of these is the largest and architecturally most important. It is located on the northern road and is in the shape of a Mausoleum tomb with a square base along the east-west axis. All the tombs are constructed out of limestone blocks quarried in the same area. The museum in Tripoli (Al-Matthaf Al-Jamahiri) houses a reconstruction of one of the tombs.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Fezzan (The southern land of Libya)
Herodotus, the Greek historian described that the Garamants of the Fezzan used to hunt the Ethiopian Troglo-dytes (the inhabitants of Tibesti known as the Rock Tibbu) in Chariots drawn by horses. And such vehicles are frequently represented on prehistoric rock-pictures in the Fezzan area.
Geographically, the coastal plain of Tripolitania forms part of a natural corridor connecting Egypt and north-west Africa, and throughout history its inhabitants had watched invaders from one side or the other pass by on their way to richer lands beyond. The Tripolitanias own political and cultural ties have been on the other hand with the west of Tripoli rather than the east of Benghazi for the large centers of habitation in the coastal area are cut of from Cyrenaica by the desolate shores of the Gulf of Sidra. The Fezzan, on the other side had tended to have closer bonds with both Cyrenaica and Egypt, with which it is connected by a chain of conveniently spaced oases.
In brief, Sebha is also on of the main cities of Libya. It is now distinguished by its wide streets and white buildings which are mostly of one or two stories. Its singular social pattern gives it a unique personality. It is today a modern oasis in the midst of the desert land forest and green gardens invigorate both inhabitants and visitors.
Not far from Sebha lies Ghaat. The cheerful town which is noted for its merry-marking.
Sebha , which has been built on the debris of an old town, represents that stage of development Libya, has attained in such a short time after the collapse of the old regime by the First of September Revolution of 1969. The old remains have, however, been preserved for visitors and tourists to see and compare the past with the present.
It is worth nothing that Sebha is t he first spark of the First September Revolution of 1969, and it is also the seat whereby the Rise of Jamahiriya- The age of the masses was announced on 2nd March 1977.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Germa (Garama)
In old Germ, excavations have revealed a more important site, according to Dr. M.S. Ayoub. In the palm groove at the bed of at Hayat Vally exists the ruins of a Walled City.
The boundaries of Germa are unknown. In the desert, its difficult to make a definite frontier line. From the north it seems that the boundaries during the Roman times were to the south of Bu-negm and extended westwards to Ghadames. The eastern, western and southern boundaries were not defined.
According to the Greek historian Herodotus (484-428 B.C) the Garamants were living in the southern part of Libya where they were chasing tribes of Ethiopians living in caves by the use of Chariots drawn by four hoses. Herodotus also stated that that Garamants were dealing with agriculture and breeding livestock and had a kind of oxen going backward when they were grazing, because of their horn-bent forward preventing them from grazing.
However, the earliest account of the names and positions of the Chief Tripolitania tribes are as follows: > Nasamons, one of the most powerful earlier Libyan people settled in the east and south shores of the Gulf of Sidra (Greater Syrtes). > Psylli settled in south shore of the gulf but they also occupied the coastal extended as far as the Wadi Caam area. >> The Gindanes occupied the west area of the Macae, the Jabal and >the Lotophagi or Lotus-eaters, followed by the marchlyes who occupied the Coastal plain as far as Lake Tritonis (Shott al-Gerid). And in the interior of the country were the Garamants who were also described by the early historians as powerful earlier Libyan tribes inhabited an oasis thirty days' journey south of Lotophagi which was identified with the Fezzan.
The Garamants with other earlier Libyan tribes had resited
Both the Romans domination influence. Their victory relized at the beginning of the first century A.D. encouraged revolution at coast areas.
In the year 70 A.D., in the wake of the death of Emperor Vespasian, the ancient inhabitants of Oea (Tripoli) with the help of the Garamants organized resistance to the extent that their armies reached at the gates of Leptis Magna. However, peaceful; relations were not realized until a later era, at the time of Septimius Severus (193-211 A.D.), when roads were safe and trade flourished among Germa, Leptis Magna and Other towns. The stability desired by the ruler continued during the second and the third centuries when Germa had reached the climax of its prosperity and progress.
Since ancient times, Africa was, however, the source of ivory, leather, gold, silver and other equatorial products. These objects were imported to Germa to be treated by the skilful craftsmen of Germa and sold again in the markets of Leptis, Sabratha and Oea.
Photo Equipment: Ghadames (Cydamae)
Ghadames 683 km. Southwest of Tripoli, is reached either by land or by air. It offers to tourists comfortable accommodation in the middle of the desert. The town distinguishes itself by its shape and look which are both extraordinary. It is full of small covered streets which run like-corridors, even through the house have flat intercommunicating terraces reserved for women only.
The inhabitants of Ghadames, (Cydamae in the Roman times), are the Touareg lovers of freedom and liberty. This oasis, in the far southwest of Tripoli, has seen lover of pleasant evening talk, and recreation, and pleasant seekers. People loved to hear the still of the night being broken by the music of a simple cane flute: or to attend the scene of a curtain of silence being lifted by the artistic fingers of a Bedouin woman playing a beautiful tune on strings attached to a small leather-coated drum: or the uproar of a tumuli on the dance ring with the songs of the Touareg. (Singular Targui).
Ghadames Oasis maintained its own framework of customs and habits, and its own social ways of life. The existence of a water spring endowed on its special attraction and grave it vital life arteries. Thus, it become one of the most important commercial station for merchants caravans created commercial activity and brought substantial wealth to this beautiful Libyan oasis; the pearl of the desert. The most important oases in the Jamahiriya other than Ghadames, are the oases of Jalu, Aujla, Kufra and Jaghboub.
Historians record that Ghadames was habited (4,000) years ago. It is now an archaeological site which dearly indicates the presence of several civilizations that had lived on the city's streets and paths. These civilizations have left their prints on the rocks, in the caves, on ruins scattered on the dunes and in the curves of the valleys. Excavators in Ghadames have also found Greek carvings in a region to the northeast of the city, as well as the mixture in tile city of Roman and Garamantes arts and architecture. In the 3ed century B.C., there was also a castle built for Roman soldiers. In the 7th century A.D. 'Omar Ibn-al-As sent an Arab Muslim battalion to Ghadames in order to make it a foothold from which the Arab Muslim armies would spread throughout North Africa later on. It was a strategical position which they sustained strongly.
Ghadames population is composed of groups of people from Arab origin and other groups of ancient Libyan source. They speak Arabic which the Arab Muslim Leader Ugba ibn-Naafa' brought with him to the city when he conquered it twice in the 7th century A.D.). They also speak a sort of a vernacular language which is common to day among the indigenous people of Ghadames (19). They are, of corse Libyans.
It is worth noting that there is a legend about how the name of 'GHADAMES' had been so framed. It si said that once upon a time a caravan passed through a valley where they had their own much
After they had packed their belongings and left the spot, one member of the caravan noticed the missing of the cooking utensils. Then he said, '' We forget them at 'GHADAMES' (He meant : We left them at Yesterday's lunch'. i.e. where they had their lunch.
In Arabic '' GHADA' means hunch and 'AMS' means in Arabic 'Yesterday ' Therefore, - GHA-DAMES - means yesterday lunch. But it is by chance, the Roman name 'Gyadamae' has been transformed to 'Ghadames'.
However, there is no doubt that this story' is a pure legend . . . for Ghadames to its name from a distortion of its original name, 'Cydamus '' and its present name has no relation with (Ghada'). (Arabic for lunch). The Touareg are however one of the most colorful people in Jamahiriya. They mount or ride on their very fast dromedaries known as 'Mehari' which can run as fast as 50 km. per hour. They are the guardian of the Sahara.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Wadi al-Hayat (The valley of life)
In this valley there is a large collections of prehistoric and historic ruins dating back to more than ten centuries before the Christian era. The ancient inhabitants of the district were the Garamants.
Mr. Haynes, in his historical summary, narrates that the Roman proconsul Cornelius Balbus was faced with a war which started among the Mauretanian tribes and spread across the whole southern frontier of the province. Leaving the western tribesmen to his subordinate officers, Balbus led a military expedition against the Garamants in Fezzan. He set out from Oea or Sabratha. On his return to Rome gives a long list of captured places, including Garama, the capital of the Garamantes (the modern Germa in the Wadi el-Ajaal) , renamed ( Wadi al-Hayaat), and Cydamae (the modern Ghadames) which became an allied city of Rome at this time.*
Among the remains, left by the ancient Libyans, are the relics of towns, forts and waterr aqueducts. The aqueducts testify the effectiveness of their irrigation system which was one of the best known to the ancient peoples. Their rock drawings expressing their ways of life are greatly admired by historians and sightseers. The economic life of the ancient people of Wadi al-HAYAAT, centered on trade and commerce. They plied trade between the Mediterranean shores and Central African countries by means of chariots driven by horses. Their most notable remains are to be seen in Germa, their former capital which had reached according to historians the climax of its prosperity and progress during the time of Emperor Septimus Severus in I93-211 A.D. The antiquities of this town include many temples, houses built of stone and even villas with bath facilities of Pharaonic, Carthagian, Greek, and Roman models.
Thousands of stone-built tombs survive in the Wadi al-HIayat to bear witness to the care with which the tent-dwelling Garamantes housed their dead.
Miscellaneous: Ptolemais (Tolmeita)
This ancient Tolmeita first came into existence , in the 6th century B. C., as the harbor of brace-'El-Marj', but its foundation as a city was due to one of the Hellenistic king of Egypt, who gave it this name, and laid out streets and public buildings. This king was probably Ptolemy III Euergetes who married Berenice, the daughter of king Ptolemy II, king Magas independent ruler of Cyrenaica and half-brother of Egypt. Berenice after whom the second Benghazi was named.
The conspicuous and tower-like Hellenistic Mausoleum 'that stands in the ancient quarries west of the city may mark the burial place of Ptolemaic rulers of Cyrenaica. The Greek theater-cut into the hillside behind the city-may be the same period. It is also probable that the well-preserved gateway, the 'Porta Tauchira', in the western part of the city wall is , however, reported that the city flourished under the roman s, although it did not become the capital of Cyrenaica until the age of Emperor Diocletian. Luxurious private houses, such as the 'Villa of the Four seasons' and the 'Palace of the columns' were constructed, with mosaic floors of the fine quality. Provision was made for water storage (always a sever problem at pto ) by the construction of an enormous complex of covered cistern under the public square which is usually call the forum. Tow new Theaters were constructed by the Romans, and also an Amphitheater which was situated within one of the old stone quarries.
During the roman period, Ptolemais was a more important city than Barce. 'Barka' which declined into a small village. When, in A.C. 279 the Emperor Diocletion created new province of ' Libya Pentapolis', Ptolemais (Tolmeita), become the capital and took the position formerly occupied by Cyrene. Under Constantine reign an Arch-Way was constructed on the main street of the city and dedicated to the Emperor Constantine by the cities of the Pentapolis-i.e. Apolonia, Cyrene, Ptolemais, Tauchira (Tokara and Berenice).
From historic records Ptolemais (Tolmeita) which comes after Cyrene, is and actual fact of an important archaeological featare in the region.
Luggage and bags: Backpack 65l
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Most of the year is hot or extremly hot in Lybia, but nights are chilly. Take some comfortable shirts and trousers. And remember, this is the Muslim world. Dress modest!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: It's better to take all you may need.
Photo Equipment: Take everything you need with you! I had many problems to buy a film (forget about the slides).
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