Libya’s capital and largest city, Tripoli, is an ancient city, originally founded in the 7th century BC by the Phoenicians. As you might expect with such a long history there are numerous old parts to the city to explore and archaeological sites too.
Start your visit in the National Museum as this will give you insight into the history of Tripoli and indeed the whole of Libya before you start seeing the rest of the city. The old city, the walled part of which is called the medina is a fantastic place to explore with its narrow maze-like alleyways, much of which is dominated by the Red Castle (Assaraya al-Hamra) just outside the medina. This is a huge palace with architectural elements from varying periods. Also of interest are the Gurgi and Karamanli mosques with their beautiful and intricate tilework and decorations. Outside the Gurgi Mosque is the only remaining Roman monument in the city, the Arch of Marcus Aurelius.
Other Cities in Libya
There are a number of other cities in Libya, most of which are on the coast. Notable amongst these is Gharyan where you will find underground berber dwellings and Ghadamis with its old city that was constructed in such as way as to limit the amount of heat allowed to enter the city’s buildings.
One of Libya’s most impressive attractions is the archaeological site of Leptis Magna. This is a UNESCO World heritage Site and was a major city of the Roman Empire, said to be the second largest after Rome. The site is located 130 kilometres east of Tripoli and is on the coast. This is one of the best set of Roman ruins in the whole of the Mediterranean so definitely worth the trip.
There is a very impressive amphitheatre here and other great remains include the Arch of Septimius Severus and the Severan Basilica.