Cyrene is an unique and glorious ruin! A worthy Cyrenaica rival to Tripolitania Leptis magna. Both famous for is monuments and for its setting, looking out over the Mediterranean from an elevated rocky perch. Cyrene is Libyas most complete ancient Greek city. Cyrene was the most important Greek city in North Africa, founded in the 7th century BC by a party of immigrants who had fled the drought-inflicted island of Thera in the Aegean Sea. Under King Battus IV (515-470 BC) it enjoyed a period of relative calm and prosperity. From 322 BC Cyrenaica came under the control of the Greek general Ptolemy I and his dynasty.
In 96 BC the Romans took possession of Cyrenaica and it became a province of Rome eighteen years later. Thereafter it enjoyed a period of peace until a Jewish revolt in 115 AD caused widespread destruction.??Following reconstruction under the Emperor Hadrian Cyrene again entered a period of prosperity.
In 365 AD, during the Byzantine period an earthquake destroyed much of the city which at the time had not yet embraced Christianity. A grand rebuilding program took place although former places of pagan worship were desecrated including the great temple of Zeus.?Built on a series of levels the spectacular ruins of Cyrene include the Sanctuary and Temple of Apollo, the Acropolis, the Agora, the Forum, the Stoa of Hermes and Heracles, the House of Jason Magnus, the Nine Muses and the Temple of Zeus.
Temple of ZEUS
Reflecting Cyrene?s importance in the ancient Greek world can be seen by The Temple of Zeus, because it was lager than the Parthenon in Athens. Constructed in the 5th century BC, the sanctuary measured 32m by 70m, and was surrounded by two rows of eight and two rows of 17 columns. The ancient entrance was from the east.
This sight is a large open square was build in the 2nd century by the Greeks.
This was the main road running through the Greek city, still lined with impressive columns bearing graven images of Hermes and Hercules.
House of Janson Magnus
Is the residence of Jason Magnus a high priest of the Temple of Apollo in the 2nd century.
Serving as a public square in the hart of Cyrene.
Sanctuary of Apollo
Rich collection of temples, baths and other public buildings sits on a ledge overlooking the plain.
Dating back to the 6 century there is a spectaculair theatre that could once seat 1000 spectators.
Wall of Nikodemus
A ancient wall build in the Roman time protecting the public building in the sanctuary from wild animals in the amphitheatre.
This museum contains an impressive collection of Roman statues, tablets and mosaics