Northern Libya was once where the dramatic history of Leptis Magna was created, an ancient metropolis that was the first and thus the oldest Phoenician settlement that formed part of what was later known as Tripolitania.
The remains of this city are typically Roman. The 2nd century A.D. brought new prosperity when Septimius Severus, who was born in Leptis Magna, became emperor of the Imperium Romanum. At that time, monumental buildings were constructed, whose beauty and size was only surpassed by those in Rome itself. The ruins of the very large Severian Basilica highlight the amazing architectural skills of the master builders of those days.
The Forum was also built at the time of Septimius Severus and today it is the most imposing area in the ancient city. Artistic Medusa and Gorgon heads adorn the remains of a restored arcade in the Forum.
The city’s Amphitheatre, that was once the scene of bloody gladiatorial battles and wildlife savagery, also possesses its own special ambience. Leptis Magna was an important port for the export of wild animals from Africa’s southern regions, such as elephants, lions and leopards.
For many years, Leptis Magna was lost to history until it was rediscovered in the 20th century, when it once again revealed much of the magic of its truly glorious past.