Reasons to Visit
Whether admiring some of the best-preserved ruins anywhere in the former Roman or Greek worlds, wandering through ancient Saharan trading posts, or pondering on the fate of the Garamantian civilisation that died out almost overnight, Libya's ancient ruins will be a major reason for your visit to the country.
The Greeks and Romans had a heavy presence in North Africa, largely confined to the fertile coastal strip. In the east, the Greeks had a strong presence in the cities of Cyrene, Apollonia and Ptolemais, whilst in the west the Roman cities of Leptis Magna and Sabratha are some of the most impressive found anywhere.
With the fantastic rock art of the Sahara and the dunes and oases of the Ubari Sand Sea, the only way to get around is in a self-supported 4WD expedition. The solitude is a major draw, and because it's so far from any towns or cities, the night sky is brilliant with stars.
In the Ubari Sand Sea lie a series of lakes that fulfil every childhood fantasy of a desert oasis. Hidden deep amongst sand dunes, palm trees fringe limpid pools that perfectly reflect the clear blue skies.
The oldest rock art in Libya dates back 12,000 years, through to more recent pieces about 2,000 years old. The older pieces tell of a more fertile time when giraffe, elephants, hippos and fighting cats roamed the landscape: a bizarre contrast with the stunning desert scenery that now surrounds the area.
Although relatively accessible today, Ghadames was once a watchword for hostile cities on the fringe of the Sahara that traded in gold and slaves arriving from across the desert.
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North Africa & the Middle East
A mixture of heavily eroded sandstone, basalt mountains and vast sand seas make up the Fezzan. The Jebal Akakus is the most famous area, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Fezzan is the name of the Saharan region in southern Libya, covering approximately 700,000 square kilometres.
A mixture of heavily eroded sandstone and basalt mountains and vast sand seas, the area was once far more fertile. From 12,000 to 4,500 years ago it was temperate with regular rainfall and extensive flora and fauna.
During this time indigenous people progressed from hunter-gatherers to pastoralists and this development is charted in one of the most remarkable and extensive collections of rock-art and petroglyphs anywhere in the world.
The Jebal Akakus is the most famous area, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, although previously untouched areas such as Wadi Methkandoush and Msak Millet are now opening up.
To be in this arid landscape surrounded by the swirls and broken outlines of weird rock formations and see images of elephants, giraffes, and huge cattle being herded or hunted by bushmen with spears and arrows is a remarkable and strange feeling, especially when you consider that the oldest images were created over 10,000 years ago.
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Include a visit to the Fezzan on your tailor-made trip around Libya by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:Tours in LibyaWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout LibyaCountry Guides
Other countries in North Africa & the Middle East:EgyptIranJordanLebanonMoroccoOmanSyriaTunisia
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