Keep Calm and Gharyan!

by | Apr 17, 2024 | April 2024: Libya, Libya, Way Way Off the Beaten Path | 0 comments


If a photo looks professionally taken, then that credit goes to Paul Woo or Francois DeAsis (check the @FJD in the bottom right corner)


From Jebel Nafusa we drove an hour to Gharyan, considered the centre of Libyan resistance against the Italian invasion in the early 20th century.



The locals here had protested strongly against Gaddafi where they then suffered heavy bombardment by the Gaddafi forces. On May 2011, the Gaddafi’s forces had shut down the water system and blocked food supply to the town. Rebels stood their ground and continued fighting against any resistance which finally led them to victory against countless tanks, artillery guns and snipers.

Today Gharyan has a population of over 85,000 and produces olive oil, flour, carpet weaving, and pottery. It is also unique for being home to over 3,000 cave homes dug vertically underground, each housing up to 8-10 families at the time.



They are known as Troglodyte caves. A grandson of the last surviving family to have lived in one of them invited us to show us around.



The platform in the middle is a communal courtyard covering an even deeper pit of rocks where the all the food scraps (aka bones of consumed animals by the troglodytes) are tossed in. Ants are then attracted to the bones and food scraps, digging their own holes and their own little cave dwellings in the bones and rocks in the pit. As time goes by after every rainfall, the rainwater drains into the pit and tiny little ant holes and before you know it, the pit is dry again! 

Thus a sustainable cycle repeats.



The one we visited was home to 8 other families and now is being converted to a museum and hotel.



The family now lives in a fancy above-ground mansion that overlooks all the land that they own. They have it pretty good here!



After an hour here, we returned back to Tripoli for dinner at our hotel.




- At time of posting in Gharyan, it was 25 °C - Humidity: 20% | Wind Speed: 30km/hr | Cloud Cover: desert


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