Libya – Leptis Magna and Villa Selene

January 27, 2013 / Libya / 0 Comments /

Yesterday we took a day our to go on a bit of a tour to Leptis Magna and Villa Selene – Roman ruins an hour and a half out from the metropolitan city that is Tripoli.  Quite simple, the whole day was STUPENDOUS.  We have never experienced such beauty. It completely blew our minds. The size and scale of the ruins were just amazing… I was overwhelmed with the whole area and to think only 30% had been uncovered just made you jibber. I have no idea how the Romans managed to construct these places!

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We were fortunate to have a truly superb tour guide with us, Jamal, a local who’s passion is the history of Libya.  With astounding English he took his time to guide us around the sites answering all of our questions without hesitation and taking great pleasure at our exasperation in the sites.  The day itself was stunning too with eerie ghost-buster like clouds looming over us and the ruins.  Fortunately we only experienced a couple of down pours but nothing a shake of a leg and burst of sunshine didn’t dry off.

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I had so many moments of “wow”ness that it’s hard to pick any favourite areas but I think the two sections which had the most impact was the New Forum and Amphitheater.  The New Forum is just of a incomprehensible size.  It’s gigantic.  Jamal explained to us that what was still standing is only half the height of the original build… which when you took time to sit and take it all in left you stood gawping.  The amphitheater too was pretty much fully intact and blooming ENORMOUS!  You could run around the tunnels and see the exotic animal traps, all whilst you could hear the roar of the ocean just beyond.

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It was simply phenomenal.  Not only that but we were there for hours… absolutely hours… and in that time we only saw two very small families from a far.  The rest of the time we had the place entirely to ourselves.  Just a phenomenal experience.

Villa Selene too was just undeniably breath taking.  A small Roman Villa on it’s own private cove over looking the Mediterranean… it was a perfect harmonious place to be.  Built with such detail and attention the whole Villa is top to toe in delicate and awe-inspiring mosaics.  It’s nice to see too that the Romans had a sense of human with one mosaic depicting a story of two Pygmies trying to capture an alligator followed by another where the alligator had nommed one Pygmy and his mate was trying to pull his friend out from it’s jaws!  Funny expressions!

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When we stopped for lunch we met some wonderful locals and a lovely Australian lady who has been on the road with her husband now for years in an effort to raise monies for epilepsy and cancer for children.  How utter awesome is that? :)

All in all Libya has so far proven to be amazing.  Absolutely amazing.  We are loving every minute of it here, the places and people are just tremendous!  We both cannot wait to return when the times have settled a bit so we can visit the desert and oasis in the South!

Tomorrow we unfortunately have to leave which saddens us a little and also makes us a little nervous as we are heading away from the safety of Tripoli and into the zones which are a little bit dangerous.  Thankfully our friend Muhammad has arranged for our bikes to be put on a Libyan truck and covered for the trip meaning we will be much more inconspicuous and hopefully not draw so much attention. He has been an absolute star in helping us through this section and inspiring us with confidence – we cannot thank him enough!  Alongside our parents and friends who have remained in constant contact, thank you all again so so much :)  We will post again in the near future!

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