Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I found a folly!

I was unaware that there are Roman ruins in Libya until I read this article the other day. Named a World Heritage Site in 1982, the ancient city of Cyrene (3rd image) was founded by the Greeks in the 4th c. B.C. and Romanized in the 1st c. B.C. Famous for its ruins since the 18th c., Cyrene has not been much of a tourist destination in the modern day, even before Libya's recent turmoil. Reuters reports, "At the ruins, bags of rubbish litter the 2nd century A.D. Arch of Marcus Aurelius, and an amphitheatre likely used for performances of Greek tragedies is now apparently being used as a sheep pen judging by the hoof prints and droppings. A school of Greek philosophy is said to have been started at Cyrene, but the only ruminating there now is done by cows." Ruins, including what remains of the Eastern Basilica (1st image), also stand at Apollonia, seaport for the city of Cyrene. But the site of what are said to be the most spectacular Roman ruins in the Mediterranean are to be seen in Al Khums, Libya. Leptis Magna (2nd image) - also a World Heritage Site - was the birthplace of Roman Emperor Septimius Severus (145-211 A.D.) and a model of urban planning. But part of the ancient city was transplanted. Britain's King George III (1738-1820) imported and installed a colonnade in Windsor Great Park (4th image) as a folly.

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