Libya Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing

(Libya, LY, North Africa)

Arch of Marcus Aurelius photographLibya's decision that preserving the country's unique heritage must take top priority means that tourist access to some attractions may be more limited than you would expect.

Despite such limitations, Libya still offers its visitors a glimpse of everything from the remains of Stone Age civilisations to fascinating Berber, Roman and Greek heritage sites. City tours of Tripoli are available through a number of local tour operators, offering sightseeing tourists and holiday makers the chance to experience attractions such as the Al-Saraya Al-Hamra Castle, the Arch of Marcus Aurelius, the Gurgi Mosque and the characterful Medina Quarter.

Close-up picture of the Arch of Marcus Aurelius

Arch of Marcus Aurelius

Address: Sharia Hara Kebir, Tripoli, Libya, LY, Africa
Another major attraction in the city of Tripoli, this Aurelian Arch is, in fact, all that survives of the Roman town of Oea, which once stood on the site of the Old Town. The ancient Arch of Marcus Aurelius dates all the way back to the 2nd century and formerly dominated the crossroads of two important Roman roads, the Decumanus and the Cardo Maximus, while also providing an official entrance point into the city from the harbourfront. Look out for Apollo and Minerva, Roman deities which can be clearly seen on the gateway itself. It is believed that the arch remains standing since an old prophecy predicts great misfortune to anyone trying to damage it in any way.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Al-Saraya Al-Hamra Castle image

Al-Saraya Al-Hamra Castle / Red Castle

Address: Green Square, Tripoli, Libya, LY, Africa
Tel: +218 0121 333 3042
Also known as the Red Castle and Tripoli Castle, this is essentially a whole palace complex rather than just one fortified building. The first fortress on this site appeared in the 7th century. However, the buildings visitors can see today mostly date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Dominating the city vista, the Red Castle is home to several statues and fountains that were built during the Ottoman Empire period of history. It also houses some ornate tile work, an ancient prison, the old Governor's Quarters and a courtyard created by the Spanish during the 16th century, as well as the Jamahiriya Museum.
Open hours: Tuesday to Thursday - 08:00 to 14:00, Friday - 08:00 to 14:00, 16:00 to 18:00, Saturday and Sunday - 08:00 to 14:00
Admission: charge (joint entry ticket to museum and castle)

Medina Quarter

Address: Medina, Tripoli, Libya, LY, Africa
The Medina area of Tripoli is packed with character and atmosphere, and is the perfect place to come for serious sightseeing and a taste of centuries past. Although areas of the Medina are rather run down and in need of some attention, many parts are in good condition and offer the chance to observe local life being led at a leisurely pace. Tourists can expect attractions such as secluded courtyards, historic mosques and lively markets. Guided tours can be arranged, while for the best views of the quarter, head to the top of the Corinthia Bab Africa Hotel. Highlights in the Medina include the Arch of Marcus Aurelius, the Ahmed Pasha Karamanli Mosque, the Draghut Mosque, the Gurgi Mosque, the Othman Pasha Mosque and the Old British Consulate.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Interior view of the Gurgi Mosque

Gurgi Mosque

Address: Sharia Hara Kebir, Tripoli, Libya, LY, Africa
Located just a stroll away from the Arch of Marcus Aurelius, the Gurgi Mosque may be relatively small in size, but the beautiful interior floral and tiled decorations make a visit particularly worthwhile. Completed in 1833, the mosque was the work of one Mustafa Gurgi and boasts much elaborate stone-lattice carving beneath the domes. It can easily be distinguished from others in Tripoli by its distinctive octagonal minaret.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Green Square (Martyrs Square) photo

Green Square (Martyrs Square)

Address: Green Square, Tripoli, Libya, LY, Africa
Central to life in Tripoli, Green Square is a relatively recent addition to the layout of the city, only gaining its current size and structure following the revolution of 1969. Prior to this, the much smaller square was used for mass revolutionary rallies. Today, Green Square is roughly double its previous size and has become something of a car park, although on public holidays, a fairground usually takes over. The eastern boundary of Green Square deserves investigation, with its gleaming white Italianate buildings, including the Galeria de Bono, the Madrassat al-Founoun Wasana'a al'Islamiya and the Masjed Jamal Abdel Nasser.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Picture taken in the Yusuf Karamanli House

Yusuf Karamanli House

Address: Saria Jamaa ad-Draghut, Tripoli, Libya, LY, Africa
This former home of the Karamanli family eventually became the consulate for the Italian State of Tuscany. Today, Karamanli House is home to a number of exhibits that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Displays of period costumes, furniture, various antiquities and everyday objects reveal how life was lived in a grand house at that time.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 09:00 to 12:00, 15:00 to 18:00
Admission: charge