Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cyrene, Libya

We visit the Greek ruins at Cyrene, Libya, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  According to legend Cyrene was a Libyan Amazon queen who founded a city of that name (Cerne) along the coast.  In the center can be seen the Temple of Apollo, 6th century BCE, rebuilt after an earthquake and then rebuilt again after the Jewish rebellion in 115 CE.

The Gigantic Forum built by King Ptolemy 8 of Egypt as a gymnasium, 2nd century BCE.  Then rebuilt by the Romans as a Forum in the 1st century CE. 
Temple of the Sun-god Zeus, 6th century BC, rebuilt during the 2nd century AD.
Fertility goddess statues outside the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, only women were permitted to enter the sanctuary during an annual festival.
 The Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore.
The main theater in Cyrene is believed to be the oldest structure at the complex, 6th century BCE.  Although not large, probably seated 1,000, it has a commanding view of the valley below and on a clear day the Mediterranean Sea is visible.
The statue of Nike (minus wings) stands atop what is called the Naval Monument believed to be built by the Ptolemies in the 3rd century BCE.

The lions guard the entrance to the Temple of Apollo, 6th century B.C., rebuilt in 4th century B.C., and restored in 2nd century A.C.
The Fountain of Apollo, drinking from the fountain was believed to be good for your health.  From here we visited the museum where some statues from Cyrene are on display and many mosaics.

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