Videos from Leptis Magna: Rafa Vjajes visits the Roman Jewel of Libya

Following on from Herb Schmitz’s visit to the stunning Roman ruins of Leptis Magna (you can watch Heritage Key’s video interview with Herb on his visit to Libya here), one of the most prominent members of Heritage Key’s Flickr group has also recently visited the North African site and shot some videos of the various ruins. Rafa Vjajes is a Spanish photographer who often visits heritage and cultural sites around the world, and you can find many of his photographs in Heritage Key’s Flickr pool and see his stunning shot of the Roman Theatre at Sabratha which I featured as a Daily Flickr Find.

Leptis Magna is one of the most stunning archaeological sites from the Roman Empire, and many of the ancient remains are still in an excellent condition, having been preserved under sand for centuries. Heritage Key recently showcased a high resolution image provided by GeoEye of the site of Leptis Magna, where the true expanse of the Roman ruins can be seen from above. The area boasts many of the typical features of an ancient Roman city, many of which were captured by Rafa Vjajes on film.

The Amphitheatre of Leptis Magna

The Amphitheatre of Leptis Magna was one such structure which still remains intact today, and was constructed into the natural slope of soft sandstone, and in close proximity to the sea. With a capacity of 16,000 people, the amphitheatre would be host to gladiator battles against either one another or wild animals as well as public executions. It was a destination of entertainment for the citizens of Leptis Magna, and the architectural magnificence of the building is still evident in these well preserved remains of the amphitheatre.

Rafa Vjajes took video from inside the amphitheatre’s main arena itself which lies partially in ruin. Nevertheless, the condition of the structure is amazing considering the centuries it has survived and Rafa’s videos give a new insight to how the area would have looked in its day.

The Arch of Septimus Severus

There is also video footage of the road leading up to the Arch of Septimus Severus and the area surrounding it, showing the dominance of the structure. The Arch would have served as a monument which anybody approaching the city would have been able to see, and therefore required a dominating presence in its landscape. The arch was built to commemorate the “son of Leptis Magna” who went on to become Emperor Septimus Severus, and has now been partially restored by archaeologists. The arch was one of many monuments built to celebrate the return of the Emperor to his hometown in the 3rd Century BC.

The Hadrian Baths

Another key part of Roman Life revolved about the baths. The Hadrian Baths of Leptis Magna were constructed under the rule of Emperor Hadrian as part of his reconstruction programme. The main swimming pool of these Roman baths was located in an open courtyard, paved in marble and featuring a mosaic at the bottom of the pool. Despite the ruined state of many of the columns, it’s still easy to make out the pool and the general structure of the site.

You can follow Rafa Vjajes’ travels around the world through his Flickr photostream, which he regularly updates with hundreds of amazing photographs, or visit his personal website to see a portfolio of his work. You can also read more about Leptis Magna on Heritage Key, as well as being able to see stunning photography of the Roman ruins by Herb Schmitz and watch the video interview as Herb talks about his experience of visiting Libya.