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Visit of Ptolemais & Apollonia (Libya)

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Uploaded on Oct 30, 2006

Ptolemais or Ptolemaida was one of the ancient capitals of Cyrenaica, located near the modern town of Tolmeitha (Arabic طلميثة) in Libya. It was most probably named after Ptolemy III Euergetes.
The town was most probably founded in 7th or 6th century BC by settlers from Barka. Soon it became one of the founding city-states of the Pentapolis federation. In 331 BC the union was dissolved after all of its towns surrendered to Alexander the Great. After his death the area formed part of the Ptolemaic empire. In early 1st century the region was conquered by Rome and became a separate province.
In 365 a major earthquake struck the region and destroyed all of the five major cities of the area (Cyrene, Apollonia, Arsinoe, Berenice and Barca). Ptolemais survvived the tragedy in a relatively good shape and it was there that the most important authorities were moved. It served the role of a capital of Cyrenaica until 428, when it was destroyed by the Vandals. During the reign of Justinian I the city was rebuilt, but it never regained its powers and was again destroyed by the Arabs in 7th century.
Covered with sand, the town's ruins survived in a relatively good shape to our times. It is probably the only well-preserved Roman capital of a province in the world. In 2001 the archaeological mission from the Warsaw University started the excavations there. It is estimated that the town covers 2.5 square kilometers, excluding the city walls and large necropolies surrounding it.

Apollonia in Cyrenaica (modern Libya) was founded by Greek colonists and became a significant commercial centre in the southern Mediterranean. It served as the harbour of Cyrene, 20 km (12 miles) to the southwest. The Greek geographer and mathematician Eratosthenes was born there.
Apollonia was one of the five towns of the Libyan Pentapolis. Modern Marsa Sousa corresponds to the ancient port city (wikipedia)
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