Ziad Alhemdi is a Libyan Graphic designer and artist who's preparing for his first solo art exhibition.
Iconic Libyan Landmarks is a project that aims to portray the stories behind architectural monuments that mold our Libyan culture, history, and identity.
زياد الحمدي مصمم جرافيك وفنان ليبي يستعد لأول معرض فني له.
المعالم الليبية الشهيرة هو مشروع يهدف إلى عرض القصص خلف المعالم المعمارية التي تشكل ثقافتنا الليبية, تاريخنا، وهويتنا
كل رسمة فيها معلم من معالم ليبيا لسبب أو آخر أخترت ان نرسمها إما لانها مُهملة أو أنها تغيرت مع الزمن للأسوأ "
"كل رسمة في ورائها قصة .. وممكن لانها في الواقع مش بهذه البساطة .. بس حبيت نرسم شنو شفت فيها جميل ..
Qasbat Safeet is an ancient Roman tower located in the Dahir Alqal’a area of Nafusa Mountain, according to researchers it dates back to more than 700 BC which is approximately 2700 years ago.
The tower is located on a high plateau in the area of Dahir Alqal’a and overlooks a vast expanse of the neighboring areas, the tower was most likely used as a watchtower to observe the Roman farms located in that area which was famous for its olive groves and grape farms, this is apparent through the grape leaves engraved on the rocks of the ancient tower.
Conflict raged between the Carthaginians in the West of Libya and the Greek in its East in 514 B.C. when the Greek tried to establish a city in (Waadi Ka'am), which was close to the colonies of Carthage. Legend says that conflicting parties reached a settlement for this political and economical conflict by holding a racing marathon for contestants from both sides, where the meeting point would be the official border for both provinces. Carthaginians selected the Fileni brothers to represent them, who reached near to Raas Lanouf before their Greek opponents, who were held back due to the sinuosity of the Eastern coastal road. However, the two brothers died of extreme fatigue as soon as they reached the aforementioned area, so they were buried there and their tomb is considered the borderline between the East and West of Libya.
This story was famous in old literature and was a focal point for the Italian government and its president, Italo Balbo, who delegated the genius architect Florstano Di Fausto to build an arch at the historical site in 1937, as was mentioned in the old (L'arco) documents, and in March 16th of the same year, the magnificent marble monument in ceremonial celebrations that were attended by Benito Mussolini.
This monument was known locally as "Algous", although it stands to be much more than that, standing at 31 meters high and with an entrance of more than 15 meters. The arch was built on the Balbia road that is in the between Ras Lanouf and Al'aqila; the arch is built from the Travertine that is used in the old Rome monuments, with huge bronze embellishments on the bottom of its columns and enormous status of the Fileni in a falling position, with Latin poetry on its majestic front for the Roman poet, Horas, that says:
"Alme Sol, possis nihil urbe Roma visere maius",
"Sun, may you never say a city greater than Rome".
However, after independence, these words were erased, to be replaced by Ahmed Rafiq Almehdawi's poetry, which was attacking Rome, and the arch was neglected since then, until 1973, and as a part of the Jamahiri campaign against Italian effect in the country, so the arch was torn down and forgotten.
Casa Incis is the housing that was dedicated to the employees of the government and its officials between 1931-1933.
It also had service centers within the community and open green areas. Nowadays, the function of the buildings has changed, to become commercial and administrative buildings, especially those located in the Northern part.
Also, the features of the neighborhood have changed over time with some additions, but the buildings still maintain their integrity and history in their looks and are still used as housing buildings with the green spaces.
La cattedrale di Bengasi or Benghazi Cathedral is considered one of the biggest catholic cathedrals in North Africa, and was designed by the three Italian architects:
(Alberto Alpago Novello, Ottavio Cabiati, Guido, Guido Ferrazza) as a part of the city's colonial plan. The cathedral, that is located between Di Martino avenue and the Benghazi harbor, combines the magnificent Venetian style of architecture with the local build to be come a part of the Libyan Identity, at the request of the Italian governor at the time, Teruzzi, who set the cornerstone in 1927, to be finished in 1939.
The cathedral stood in resistance to time and conditions, but some of its parts were damaged during World War II, but was reconstructed afterwards. In 1971, it was utilized as the HQ for the Arab Socialist Union, but was set on fire in 1976, and was consequently shutdown for maintenance.
With its design and history, the cathedral is considered an icon in the Libyan architecture and and symbol of the cultural diversity that is present in our daily life.
Tayloan School is one of the first and oldest educational institutions in The city of Ghadames, specifically in Tangazeen, which is one of the main city streets.
This building has witnessed plenty of historical eras, where it was owned by Bayousef, who was a fighter against the Turkish presence, and that was a fact that was further confirmed by James Richardson in his description of the house of the Turkish governor, Alrayes Mostafa.
When the Italians came, the building was used as a storage area to supply the Italian army in 1924, then the building was set to be an Italian school for one year in 1928, until the school campus in Aldahra area was ready.
During the French presence on the Libyan soil, from 1943 until 1951, the building was used for storage and accommodation for priests who came to do research on the Old City, and between 1953-1954, the building was officially used as the first girls' school in Ghadames.
The building's infrastructure deteriorated over a long period of time, that it almost cost us a part of the Libyan heritage in general and Ghadames' in specific, where, for example, Ghadames was the scholar Dherar Alghadamsi's hometown, and was also the judge for the five Ibadhi religious scholars, who went on to establish the first Ibadhi state in history.
Fortunately, a reconstruction project was implemented for the Old City of Ghadames, starting in June 2001 and ending in July 2002, that restored the building to its original condition.
Tyawatriuen is the building that tells the history that we live everyday, where its simple architecture reflects aspects of beauty, purity and femininity, with its sole, angular minaret, built with the white rocks of Yefren mountain.
This Ibadhi chapel is traced back to Mrs. Nana Zoragh, who took the top of the mountain as her sanctuary and lived in Yefren, where she endured her step-children's abuse and the passing of her 4 sons, teaching the people of Jabal Nafousa a lesson in sacrifice, knowledge and love, that her name was associated with goodness and answered prayers, and was later on named "Tyawatriuen", meaning communing with Allah SWT.
Nana Zoragh is one of the devoted examples that have such a high place amongst Libyans, like Mother Radhia in Tripoli, Lella Aisha in Tawerga, Lady Omi Alhabseiyah in Toukra and Om Yahia in Zwara. These women are examples for the women of today in the struggle and survival of difficult living conditions and they also demonstrate the respect Libyans have for compassionate mothers and strong women.
One of the majestic pyramids of Libya, and it is one of the long standing witnesses of a civilization that is more than 3000 years old; 20 conical installations in the middle of Hamada Merzeg in the East, and is bordered by the Obari desert dunes from the North, in Alhatia area in the South of Libya.
These pyramids belong to the great Jerment civilization, who built their capital Jermah, which was documented for the first time by Herodotus, the father of history, and was afterwards a point of interest for historians and archaeologists for its technical and military superiority, despite its location in the depths of the desert. it was also a point if interest because of its fluctuating diplomatic relations with the Roman empire, led by their kings whom they wanted to commemorate by building pyramid-shaped tombs out of milk stones, which reached a height of 5 meters, and a depth of 1 meter, to later bury their dead, either in a sitting position or in a fetus position surrounded by their worldly possessions; The pyramid is supposed to face East or West, to follow the movement of the sun as per their religious beliefs, which shows their intellectual evolution 1000 B.C., where tombs and graves were also built in the shapes of obelisks gazelle horns or palms, which is what we call “Alkhameesa” today. All of these shapes refer to Tanit, which is embodied by the triangle, the symbol for mother for Libyans that we see until the present.
Alhatia pyramids are not the only ones in Libya. We have other pyramids near Wadi Alajaal and Bunjeim and others, but the 20 Jerment pyramids, which are also known as Alhatia or Jerma pyramids, were a part of a whole Libyan civilization that stood against time. However, some of them were robbed by the relics thieves, and have also been reconstructed, changing their features as some researches think, but they are still considered a great landmark and one of the biggest indicators of Libyans’ ability to create accomplishment, despite the challenging environment.
The historical Hammuda Pasha Mosque occupies a part of the square currently known as Martyrs square and is across the Manshia Gate in the Saraya Hamra (also known as the Red Castle). This antique mosque was built next to the grave of Hammuda Pasha; who was an officer during the Ottoman era; it is also told that Hammuda was a righteous man who was killed by opposition competing over privilege from the Governor, although the first tale is closer to the truth.
The mosque’s northern facade overlooks the Khubz square (Currently known as Martyrs Square) where bread was sold amongst other supplies until the late 1880’s, located next to the mosque is a small cemetery. When Giuseppe Volpi, the Italian count ruled over the country in 1922, he performed a thorough maintenance of the building, the cemetery was relocated and within the mosque high arches were built, its facade was engraved with colorful floral patterns and a grand library was added to it that contained literary and religious writings. The mosque was unique in the fact that it did not contain a minaret; this made it a piece of art which combined between the local Andalusian flavor and the luxurious Italian taste.
The building was destroyed during the mid-1980s, alongside other neighboring buildings such as the Awqaf building which was also built during the Italian rule in 1920 and the city of Tripoli and Libya lost a landmark which reflected our Mediterranean identity. The empty space left by Hammuda Pasha Mosque is now used as a café, this terrible emptiness reflects our need to familiarize ourselves with our urban history, this emptiness pushes us each day to search for our lost Libyan identity.
The sun shines everyday on the coast of Tripoli to reflect its rays on the beautiful hall known as Galleria de Aurora in Italian, where this landmark, overlooking Maidan Aljaza'er, was known as Aurora cafe, which was an upscale bar until mid-eighties; this landmark was named "Aurora" to mean "dawn" in Italian, because the sun rays in dawn reflect off the metal tree sculpture in the middle of the yard, surrounded by high arches decorated with leaf and flower patterns and inspired by the nearby gardens.
This daily scene was designed by the Italian architect, Florestano Di Fausto, in 1930, who combined the majestic front of the building with the hidden simplicity in the little architectural details with the inner space to connect the line of vision from the cathedral and until the sea.
Finally, the upper part of the building was utilized for the Social Security Fund's offices since the Italian conquest and up until today. The inner yard kept its elegance by gathering a number of public cafes, making relaxing at the galleria de Aurora and merely drinking coffee with the Mediterranean breeze passing through a civil tradition connecting the shores.
Wadi Alkouf bridge in the Jabal Alakhdar, Libya is located 19 kilometers west of Albeida city, and connects the two cities of Almarj and Albeida. It is considered the largest cable-stayed bridge in the country, at a height of 160 meters above sea level and is a land mark of the Jabal Alakhdar, and is also considered the second highest bridge in Africa, after the Bloukrans in South Africa. The bridge was designed by the Italian architect, Riccardo Morandi, and it was a work in construction in the years between 1965 and 1971.
The total length of the bridge without pillars is 447 meters, while the longest span is 282 meters, and its width is 2 x 97 meters. When construction was complete, the bridge had possessed the world’s longest concrete cable.
Before this bridge existed, there was another old bridge nearby that was built at the beginning of the 20th century, known as Wadi Algraib bridge that still exists until today but remains unused.