The archaeological site of Cyrene, Libya.
Once a colony of the Greeks of Thera (Santorini), Cyrene was a preeminent city of the Hellenic world, and was later established as a Roman province in 74 BC. It was not until the great earthquake and tidal wave of AD 365 that Cyrene fell into decline. Ammianus Marcellinus, a 4th century Roman historian and soldier, found Cyrene desolate:
“In Pentapolis-Libya is Cyrene, an ancient city, but deserted…" (Book XXII, translation via uchicago).
Shown in the first photo is the huge Temple of Zeus, its size reflective of the importance of Cyrene in the Greek world (in fact, it was larger than the Parthenon in Athens). This temple was used to honour Jupiter under the Romans. Although it was restored by Augustus, it was later destroyed in AD 115 during the Jewish Revolt. As were many of Cyrene’s public buildings, the temple was rebuilt by emperor Hadrian in AD 120. In the second photo is the necropolis (place of burial). These have been cut into the cliff, and the old necropolis contains over 2,000 tombs. Shown in the 5th photo is the Greek theatre, which was later converted into a Roman amphitheatre. The mosaic detail in the 6th photo comes from the dining room of the 2nd century house of the wealthy Jason Magnus. In the final image we have the stunning Naval Monument.
Photos taken by Sebastià Giralt.