Website Category: Frontiers of the Roman Empire
Criteria: (iii) cultural tradition
Location and Values: The archaeological site of Sabratha is located on the Mediterranean coast about 70 km west of Tripoli. It began life as a Carthaginian trading post, and by the 4th century BC was an important terminus and port for trans-Saharan trade. After a period of Greek influence, the town suffered major damage from an earthquake (around 65-70 AD), providing the impetus for a complete Roman re-development. This was undertaken by Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus, who took the opportunity to clear some remaining parts of the old Punic city to make way for the new imposing public buildings.
The Roman monuments seen at the site today are from this period of Roman re-development which continued into the late 2nd century AD. Most of the Roman city was however destroyed by earthquakes in 306-10 AD and again in 365 AD, after which it was taken over by Byzantine Christians, and later occupied by Vandals. The magnificent Roman theatre, Sabratha’s main monument and the largest such building in Africa, was excavated and re-built by Italian archaeologists in the 1930s.
Slideshow of the Archaeological Site Of Sabratha: The slideshow features a series of photos provided by Bridget Goldsmith and David Trump, starting with one of the well-preserved mosaics and an overview of part of a residential area. There follows a series of pictures of the fabulous theatre, with its 3-storey galleried stage backdrop, and richly carved decorations, all in golden-coloured stone. The next suite of photos shows the Temple of Isis with its re-erected columns, standing right next to the shore, followed by a single picture of the huge (but rather derelict) amphitheatre, located some distance east of the main town. Back in the town centre the slideshow continues by showing some of the mosaics, the luxurious hexagonal latrine building at the Forum Baths, and the collection of public buildings at the centre of town, including the Forum (with its granite columns) and the adjacent Capitol, with its re-erected row of columns at the front of the building.
Slideshow of the Archaeological Site Of Sabratha:
Google Earth View: To view satellite imagery of the Archaeological Site of Sabratha on Google Earth, click here. This opens a new window, so when you are finished, just close the Google Earth page and you will be straight back here to continue browsing.
Other Links: Official UNESCO Site Details