Website Category: Frontiers of the Roman Empire
Criteria: (ii) interchange of values (iii) cultural tradition (vi) association with belief system
Location and Values: The archaeological site of Cyrene is set back from the Mediterranean shore in the foothills of the Jebel Akhdar of eastern Libya, about 200 km east of Benghazi, near the town of Al Bayda. It originated as a Greek colony in 631 BC, but became a Roman province in 74 BC until it was destroyed by a major earthquake in 365 AD. It combines impressive elements from both its Greek and Roman past.
The ruins are extensive and spread over a wide area, with four main sections. The massive Greek Temple of Zeus stands on its own about 1 km north of the Ptolemaion and Agora neighbourhoods. Further to the north-west, nestled in a steep-sided valley where a freshwater spring bubbles up from underground is the Sanctuary of Apollo, the location of the original Greek settlement. And further out to the north of the main site is the Northern Necropolis.
Slideshow of the Archaeological Site Of Cyrene: The slideshow presents a series of photos taken by Bridget Goldsmith and David Trump starting at the massive Temple of Zeus, originally a Greek temple dating from the 6th century BC. It then shows a series of pictures from the Ptolomaion neighbourhood, including the vast porticoed enclosure of the Hellenistic sports gymnasium (dating from the 2nd century BC), and adjacent Roman theatre. Nearby, the Hall of the Muses features a Roman floor mosaic depicting the heads of the Muses, and the House of Jason Magnus (dating from the second or early 3rd centuries AD) has some fine geometric mosaics. The next few pictures show the Agora neighbourhood, where a round construction with a colossal seated figure and other statuary was a sanctuary to the fertility goddess Demeter and her daughter. The Archives are located in the Agora neighbourhood and a Greek inscription is shown. Some distance beyond Agora the next pictures show parts of the Sanctuary of Apollo, and the nearby theatre-amphitheatre which dates back to Hellenistic times. The Sanctuary of Apollo includes the Trajan Baths, where remains of the hypocaust floor system, which allowed hot air to circulate under the floor, are shown. The last few pictures show parts of the extensive necropolis, its tombs cut into the hillsides – all now emptied of their burial paraphernalia and abandoned.
Slideshow of the Archaeological Site Of Cyrene:
Google Earth View: To view satellite imagery of Cyrene on Google Earth, click here. This opens a new window, so when you are finished, just close the Google Earth page and you will be straight back here to continue browsing.
Other Links: Official UNESCO Site Details