Website Category: Fortified Towns of the Trans-Sahara Trading Route
Criteria: (v) interaction with the environment
Location and Values: The old town of Ghadames is located in an oasis about 600 km south-west of Tripoli near Libya’s border with Algeria. It has been settled since pre-historic times, and was the location of a Roman garrison from 19BC. But the characteristic buildings of the old town that remain today date from the period of prosperity associated with the booming of trans-Sahara trade from the 13th to 16th centuries.
The Old Town of Ghadames is roughly circular in layout and the outer walls of the houses around its perimeter are thickened to create an external fortification for the town. The architecture of the flat-roofed houses adheres to a standard plan, with the ground floor used for storage, warehousing and business, with family living quarters on the first floor and the inter-connected roof-top terraces reserved for women. The first floor rooms are often suspended over the narrow alleys below, creating a network of cool passageways through the town at ground level.
Slideshow of the Old Town Of Ghadames: The slideshow includes 24 pictures of the old town provided by Bridget Goldsmith and David Trump. They illustrate the key elements of the town’s architecture, with its shaded passageways, roof-top terraces with their distinctive triangular crenulations, some bas-relief wall decorations, and a couple of mosques.
Slideshow of the Old Town Of Ghadames:
Google Earth View: To view satellite imagery of the Old Town of Ghadames 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