On the Mediterranean shore about 130 km east of Tripoli in Libya lies one of the most beautiful cities of the Roman Empire, and one that is incredibly well preserved. Leptis Magna, now a UNESCO world heritage site, was built during the reign of the Roman emperor Septimius Severus in the 3rd century CE. That a Roman city this impressive was built in northern Africa, more than 2,000 km away from Rome, may seem odd but it epitomized the ambitions of Roman rulers at the height of the empire.
Septimius Severus (reign: 193 – 211) was born in Leptis Magna itself, and as such, he took pride in overseeing the development of the city into a marvel of Roman town planning and architecture. The careful planning that went into the city is evident even today. Some of the best preserved ruins in Leptis Magna such as the marketplace, the Severan Basilica, the Forum, the Amphitheatre and the Severan Arch, have survived various invasions that befell Leptis Magna from the fourth century onwards, culminating in its fall to the Hilalians in the 11th century.
For a computer reconstruction of the amphitheatre of Leptis Magna, check out this video:
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