Published on : Wednesday, November 29, 2017
The limestone and marble ruins of Leptis Magna on Libya’s coast has a great possibility to become the tourism hotspot, but the conflict has left this ancient Rome’s great Mediterranean cities almost entirely cut off from the outside world.
In this tourism site, the guards are unpaid and most visitors are local, with only the occasional handful of foreigners, including one or two intrepid tourists, making it to the site.
On weekdays, it is almost deserted, with only the odd group of local teenagers dotted among the expansive ruins.
In the car park small groups of men drink coffee and watch football on TV. The postcards and souvenirs gather dust in tourist shops that are either closed or deserted. The foreign tourists came frequently before the 2011 uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, locals say, but visits halted as the security situation declined rapidly in 2013-2014.
The conflict left Libya with competing governments, hampering both national and international conservation efforts.
Leptis Magna, which UNESCO added along with four other Libyan sites to its “World Heritage in Danger” list last year, is mostly clean and appears well preserved, though in one part of the baths a section of flooring recently collapsed and graffiti has been scribbled on marble walling.
There are the dozens local day tripping families wandered in Leptis Magna. There are two Westerners, one from New Zealand and the other from Austria, were also visiting as part of a trip organised by Soviet Tours, a Berlin-based firm.
Gianluca Pardelli,the founder of this Berlin based firm said that there about 60 non-Arab tourists had travelled to Libya last year, and his company had brought six people to the country since launching in May.
UK-based Lupine travel offer “unique destinations at budget prices” including North Korea and Chernobyl, also sells trips to Libya.
It is mentioned that the travel to Libya has the problem of security check. His clients have had is getting stuck at Tripoli airport, he said. There are two travellers were recently questioned for hours, missing their flights.