Founded by the Phoenicians and later conquered by the Romans, the ancient city of Leptis Magna in Lybia is often described as the “Rome of Africa”.
UNESCO classified these ancient ruins as a World Heritage Site.
In 2016, this site along with four others were placed on the list of endangered sites.
For the head of the Leptis Magna Control Committee, neglect is the greatest enemy.
“The threats that this city faces are indirect. Such threats come in different forms such as the lack of supplies, which never existed in the first place, the fact that archaeological missions have been interrupted, the lack of means and support from the government, virtually non-existent”, says Ezzedin Ahmed Fagi.
This ancient city, built on a site of about 50 hectares, is “a must for tourists”.
According to the head of the site’s Control Committee, these ruins hold enormous potential and could be a magnet for visitors and boost the national economy.
“Be it this government or the previous ones, before or after the revolution, none cared for the city, even though the government’s attention should be focused entirely on this city because it’s considered one of the sources of national income. If done properly, it could create jobs and attract millions of tourists”, claims Ezzedin Ahmed Fagi.
Overlooking the Mediterranean and situated 120km away from the capital, Tripoli, Leptis Magna, has escaped the worst of the political turmoil engulfing the country since the end of Mouammar Kadhafi’s regime.
“The city was founded by Romans and Phoenicians, if I remember correctly. It’s beautiful for its archaeological sites and its warmth. When you enter Leptis, you’re embarking on a journey through time, a dive into history”, says Abdessalam Weba, a Lybian visitor.
Political instability have put an end to various European archaeological missions, mainly Italian and French.
Despite its potential, for the powers that be, Leptis Magna remains a distant concern.