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Sabratha, Libya


Sabratha, in the Zawia district in the northwestern corner of modern Libya, was the westernmost of the "three cities" of Tripolis. Its port was established, perhaps about 500 BCE, as a Phoenician trading-post that served as a coastal outlet for the products of the African hinterland. Sabratha became part of the short-lived Numidian Kingdom of Massinissa before being Romanized and rebuilt in the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE. The Emperor Septimus Severus was born nearby in Leptis Magna, and Sabratha reached its monumental peak during the rule of the Severans. The city was badly damaged by earthquakes during the 4th century, particularly the quake of 365 CE. It was rebuilt on a more modest scale by Byzantine governors. Within a hundred years of the Arab conquest of the maghreb, trade had shifted to other ports and Sabratha dwindled to a village.

Besides its magnificent late 3rd century theater, that retains its three-storey architectural backdrop, Sabratha has temples dedicated to Liber Pater, Serapis and Isis. There is a Christian basilica of the time of Justinian and some of the mosaic floors that enriched elite dwellings of Roman north Africa.

The archaeological site was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.

Sabratha lies on the coast just west of Tripoli (Oea).

This article is licensed from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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