UN Implores Libya and NATO to Preserve Sites of Ghadamès and Leptis Magna

Posted on June 16, 2011


The United Nations has called on Libya and NATO to protect two cultural heritage sites that have come under threat in the wake of armed conflict.

The Old Town of Ghadamès (also called Ghadamès Old City) was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.  UNESCO explains:

Ghadamès, known as ‘the pearl of the desert’, stands in an oasis. It is one of the oldest pre-Saharan cities and an outstanding example of a traditional settlement. Its domestic architecture is characterized by a vertical division of functions: the ground floor used to store supplies; then another floor for the family, overhanging covered alleys that create what is almost an underground network of passageways; and, at the top, open-air terraces reserved for the women.

It was depopulated in the 1990s, leaving the city in danger due to lack of maintenance.  It was exposed to far worse danger when it was recently shelled by the Libyan government.

Meanwhile, NATO has refused to rule out the possibility of bombing Leptis Magna, about which UNESCO explains:

Leptis Magna was enlarged and embellished by Septimius Severus, who was born there and later became emperor. It was one of the most beautiful cities of the Roman Empire, with its imposing public monuments, harbour, market-place, storehouses, shops and residential districts.

Read the full article here: UN cultural agency calls on Libyans and NATO to protect heritage sites.