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Published: December 3rd 2013
In 1974 Villa Silin was discovered on the Libyan coast between Tripoli and Leptic Magna. It had been buried under sand dunes for centuries preserving its treasures from thieves and tourists alike. It's not an easy place to visit. Luckily we had a guide who met us at Leptis and was able to direct our driver along the torturous roads to get there. Without him we wouldn't have had a chance. Unfortunately the building itself remains locked up and out of reach until new funding is found to bring back the archaeologists. It's a shame but we really enjoyed what we saw.
The rain that day worked in our favour. It cleaned the spectacular outside mosaics and they were very easy to see. They might not be the most colourful mosaics in the world but they are remarkable nonetheless. Of particular note are the pygmys (as our guide described them), especially the one fighting the crocodile! The place is made even more spectacular by its beachside location with the Med just metres away. Yes, the razor wire protection does detract from the beauty of the setting a little, but these sites have to be protected!
Hopefully one day the
research here will continue and the entire site will be open to the public. Until then we can merely get a glimpse from the outside but it is definitely worth the effort of tracking down a guide who can get you through the gate.
On the way back to Tripoli our driver, Khalid, again showed his skill at driving through floodwater. On the edge of town we stopped off at his farm to see the animals. It was an unexpected visit but his goats were cute and it was a surprise to see peacocks. The combined trip of Leptis and Silin made for a long day, particularly with a 7am pick-up, but if you ever get the chance, you should follow in our footsteps.
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