Ptolemais Ruins

15/12/2009 at 01:00 | Posted in Cyrenaica | 1 Comment
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Ptolemais is situated about 120 km east of Benghazi city, and it lies between the Mountain and the Sea Shore.  This city  must have been a lovely city indeed. “Ptolemais or Ptolemaida was one of the ancient capitals of Cyrenaica. It was probably named after Ptolemy III Euergetes. Its Latin name in Roman times was Tolmeta, from which the modern Libyan town of Tolmeitha – Arabic طلميثة  – derives its name. The town was most probably founded originally in 6th century BC by settlers from Barka as a port for their city.  Soon it became one of the founding city-states of the Pentapolis federation. In 331 BC the union was dissolved after all of its towns surrendered to Alexander the Great. After his death the area formed part of the Ptolemaic empire. In early 1st century the region was conquered by Rome and became a separate province.    This information and more is foundHere ..

Today, Ptolemais lies in ruin and neglect, but still, it remains a part of our history that we can’t deny.  The whole area is occupied by several shepherds and their sheep,  while the modern town of Tolmeitha garbage dump is located nearby in one of the ravines.  The museum of Tolmeitha is a very modest one indeed,  and the road leading to it from the present town is in need for much repair.

However, the beauty of Ptolemais and its ancient history and spirit is always there and can’t be overlooked.  You find the area in its most natural splendor by mid winter and early spring when all flowers are blooming and it is green all around.  Here are some pictures that were taken two years ago. 


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  1. beautiful. Libya truly has some of the most amazing and well-preserved ruins in the world. it really was a crossroads for many of the world’s ancient civilizations. i have put up some images, video and information of Shahat, another set of ruins on my page. . thanks for your post and showing us much of the beauty of Libya…as we often see too much of what is not so wonderful about the place.

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