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 Tour 1

One Week of the archaeological sites on the Mediterranean Berber villages and the mountains to the desert town of Ghadames

Walking with Romans

Without a doubt, the great Roman city of Leptis Magna -
 once the greatest Roman city in all North Africa - is a must-see on every visitor to Tripoli's list. Abandonment rather than successive rebuilding on the same site has left the city in a wonderfully intact state and the excellent and sensitive work done by way of restoration makes the city an absolute joy to visit. From the moment you walk down the steps towards the magnificent triumphal arch of Septimus Severan, the "Grim African" emperor who was born here, you cannot help but be caught up in the magic of this place. Nothing about it lets you down.

Berber banking

Qasr al Haj Built in the 12th century as a sort of community "bank" that offered safe storage for the village people's major assets - their valuable crops of wheat, barley and olive oil , it is the only qasr (photo 1) still in constant use. Its stone and clay construction, the massive and impregnable outer walls broken only by a few tiny "windows " and a single door, kept the stored goods cool and dry as well as safe. A portion of the crop was taken both to sell, to pay for the upkeep of the qasr and the nearby mosque, and to distribute among the poor. The old town is deserted now and the people of Qasr al Haj have move to a new town up the road but the qasr, surrounded by a well-tended garden, is in kept in excellent repair

Medina meanders

Shabby and faded as much of it is, Tripoli's medina is still
a great place to wander. With its mixture of Roman remains; Ottoman souqs, mosques and minarets; Arabic and Italianate houses graced by crumbling balconies and ornate doorways; busy streets and quiet alleys - there's much to catch the eye and tempt the shutter finger here. Wartime damage and years of neglect have left large parts in serious decline but recent years have seen an upsurge in restoration. Grand old buildings are being carefully rehabilitated and turned to new uses. There's an ongoing and really noticeable attack on the rubbish that not so long ago threatened to swamp the place, offending both the eye and nose of Western visitors. -