Ptolemais is the ancient capital of Cyrenaica in Libya. Libya is not only a country in Northern Africa which offers the most spectacular natural beauty, but visitors also get to enjoy the history and culture of the area by visiting some of the most amazing and well-preserved ruins.
Ptolemais was conquered by the Romans in the first century and survived an earthquake in 365 which caused the area to become a popular choice especially by top authorities. This area remained the capital of Cyrenaica until 428.
What to See
Today you can view some of the most well preserved ruins from the spectacular mausoleum with its high columns to the theater, which overlooks the bay. There is a small museum on site where you can view some of the excavated items including statues and beautiful mosaics.
Be sure to visit the Basilica, which later became a mosque. The alter still stands today and gives you a true feeling of what it must have been like to live there all those years ago.
One of the most popular ruins is the palace built in sandy stone and with huge columns, giving you a sense of the size of this once magnificent building.
Then there are the cisterns, still remarkably well preserved. The cisterns were originally built by the Greeks and the Romans added arches later on. You can go down into the cisterns and wander around, really getting a feel for the vastness of these underground passages.
When visiting Libya you want to explore all the area has to offer and yes there are beaches, top cities and spectacular sights. Don’t leave Ptolemais off the list if you want to soak up some history and take a step back in time, see what it was like to live in the area centuries ago. Check out our Libya tours as many include Ptoelemais OR contact us to customize a private tour for you!