Libya.. Sands of Time
October 19 to 26, 2017
Libya is a country of stark contrasts, offering visitors an opportunity to view not only some of the greatest Roman and Greek cities in the world, but also the magnificent views of the Sahara desert. On Libya’s western Mediterranean coast, stand the breathtaking Roman cities of Sabratha and Leptis Magna. Further east, in the beautiful area of ancient Cyrenaica and the Green Mountains are the wonderfully preserved Greek remains of Cyrene, Ptolemais and Apollonia. You will explore those great classical cities and stroll their streets as well as view the fines pieces displayed in many of their small but interesting museums. Your adventure will touch upon the highlights of this nation that is just waking up from its internal strife and now is looking ahead to a peaceful future.
Trip (Land Only) $1,995.00 per person
Single supplement: $350.00
Led by local guide
Price based on a group size minimum of 4 and maximum of 12 participants
Your tour does not include
- International airfare (and flights from/to Tunis: approx. $220 roundtrip – at time of printing)
- Travel Insurance (highly recommended).
- Dayroom or overnights necessitated by changes in airline schedules
- Tipping to guide, driver, porters, hotel and restaurant staff throughout Tour (suggested budget of $100/person)
- Expenses of a personal nature such as beverages with meals, camera fees at sites, telephone, laundry bills, etc.
- Any other service/s not specified above or forced overnights in Tunis due to connection issues.
Your tour includes
- Hotel accommodations in Boutique Hotel in Tripoli & First Class in Susa.
- All tours as per itinerary including guidance and entrance fees
- Internal Flights Tripoli/Labraq/Tripoli in coach class
- Transfers/transportation by air-conditioned motor-coach
- English speaking Libyan guide throughout
- All meals (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner). Some meals will be in typical local restaurants while others are in your hotels
- Bottles mineral water on the bus every day and with included meals + refreshments while traveling on the bus
- Security official and all travel permits
- Visa approval expenses and visa cost on arrival
To fly in/out of Tripoli, the only possible option is via Tunis from where there are 2-4 daily flights on average. Depending on the connection time in Tunis, some of you may opt to have a night stay as a buffer against possible delays that may cause schedule complications.
View Tour Itinerary
Arrive Tripoli, If time allows, enjoy a walking tour of Martyrs Square (formerly Green Square), the hub of the city, September 24 street and Algeria Square, with its imposing former cathedral-turned-mosque. Afterwards transfer to Dar Zumit hotel, for check in, dinner and overnight. (D)
Begin your day with a walking tour to explore ancient Oea, founded by the Phoenicians in the 2nd millennium BC and transformed by the Romans in 146 BC. Continue to Ahmed Karamanli Pasha Mosque built in 1738 and a Karamanli house museum depicting the life style of that period then continue touring the old medina with its maze of narrow alleyways, elegant mosques and the animated souk. Visit Gurji Mosque built in 1832 and the Arch of Marcus Aurelius, the only remaining evidence of the Roman Empire in Tripoli. After lunch head west along the coastal road to visit the painted Punic tombs at Janzour. Continue to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sabratha, originally founded in the 4th century BC. It later fell under Greek influence before Rome took hold in the 1st century AD. The most spectacular monument is the Theatre, featuring 108 Corinthian columns rising to a height of twenty meters above the stage. (B,L,D)
TRIPOLI – Ptolemais – Qasr Libya
Depart on an early flight and start your day in Ptolemais, which was founded in the 3rd century BC. Begin your tour at the Museum which houses wonders such as the four seasons’ mosaic and the fountain of the eight dancing Menadi. Then on to the remains of the Arch of Constantine before heading to the Columns Palace, the most famous building in Ptolemais, and the great cisterns. Drive to Qasr Libya, known as the Old Olbia, it was the residence of its bishop, named after Justinian’s wife. You will visit the Western Church and the remarkable collection of Byzantine mosaics in the onsite museum Continue to Soussa and check in the Hotel Manara for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
APOLLONIA- RAS ALHILAL
Your first stop of the day will be in ancient Apollonia. It was Cyrene’s port for a thousand years and its ruins form an essential part of the whole archeological complex originally constructed by the Greeks when they began developing their naval merchant fleets. Modern Sousa (ancient Apollonia) was founded in 1897 as a colony of Muslim refugees from Crete. The first important monument visited is the Extra-Mural Church, remarkable for the traces of a triple apse that remain in the cactus garden at its east end. Continue toward the theater remodeled by Emperor Domitian, 92-96 AD; it was originally built during the Hellenistic Period of Greek architecture. Lunch en route. End your day with a visit to Ras Alhilal, to see the well-kept Byzantine 5th century church. Return to Soussa with a stop at Hawa Ftih Grotto, believed to have been a human settlement for over 80,000 years. Back to the hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)
Today’s excursion is to the City of Cyrene, founded by Greek immigrants from the modern island of Santorini. Start with the site museum, sheltering a huge collection of Hellenistic artifacts, busts, statues belonging to the school of Phideas. Visit the agora, the Forum of Proculus or Caesareum, the Capitolium and most importantly the Tomb of Battus, the founder of the City. Explore the Acropolis Hill, still yet to be excavated, and then continue downhill to visit the Fountain and Sanctuary of Apollo. Mytho- logically, the Fountain of Apollo was the main reason that the city was founded on this site. The sanctuary also includes the Temple of Jason Magnus and the Temple of Isis. In the same area you will also visit the Greek theater, transformed by the Romans into an amphitheater. After lunch tour the Great Temple of Zeus, along with the Necropolis of Cyrene, it is one of the most extensive cemeteries ever found in the ancient world. (B,L,D)
Fly LABRAQ – TRIPOLI
After the early flight to Tripoli and on arrival, head to visit the jewel of Libya, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Leptis Magna. Founded by Phoenician merchants in the first millennium BC it is one of the best-preserved cities of antiquity. Begin at the entrance of the main street with the Arch of Septimius Severus, built to celebrate the arrival of the great Emperor. Explore Hadrian’s Bath and the Palestra, a place for sporting events and games. Continue to the Street of the Colonnades and the Nymphaeum, a semicircular construction containing a pool and fountain surrounded by walls. Tour the Severus Forum and the adjoining Basilica before heading to the harbor, once the natural mouth of Leptis Valley. In the northern corner of the old forum are the remains of tiles from the time of the Emperor Augustus 30 BC - 14 AD. Visit the Museum and the Amphitheater built in the period of Nero around 56 AD. Stop at Villa Sillin (if open) to see the exquisite mosaics. Afterwards transfer to Dar Zumit in Tripoli for dinner and overnight.. (B,L,D)
TRIPOLI – GHARYAN – QASR-Al-HAJJ
Drive into the Berber heartland of the Jabal Nafusa mountain range. Stop at Qasr al-Haj to visit the most beautiful Berber granary qasr (castle) in Libya. Continue to Gharyan to have lunch. These ancient abodes, offering protection from weather and invaders, were built below ground, open to the sky, with a series of rooms off a central courtyard. Return to Tripoli for your overnight (B,L,D)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight back home. (B)
We (STS) reserve the right to change hotels, restaurants or the order of activities if/as needed