Jamahiriya Museum, part 1
The Jamahiriya Museum in the heart of Tripoli, is an excellent museum in all respects. Both the exhibits and the presentation make this one of the finest museums in the world.
The museum ranges from Neolithic ages until the modern age, across 47 galleries on 4 floors. With such a size, and the apparent similarity between very different times and cultures, it may either be a swift run-through or a two or three day delight.
Did you know that Libyans ruled Egypt in the Late Period? That Libyans were a serious challenge and enemy of the Egyptians at the height of Pharaonic power? That Libya produced one of the emperors of the Roman Empire? That Libya was the corn chamber of Rome?
One poor thing about the museum is that most items are labelled in Arabic; strange considering how strongly the UNESCO was involved in the development of this museum.
The ground level shows a quick journey through several periods, from 300,000 years back in time to the green VW Beetle of the young Gadhafi. The exhibits crosses through rock art and pottery up to 10,000 years old until Roman times.
Among the most impressive exhibits is the fantastic mausoleum from Ghirza (top photo), a state independent from Rome, yet culturally influenced. There are also exhibits from the Garamantian Empire (see Germa) and Slonta, everything of vital importance to a complete impression of Libyan culture and history.
In Gallery 6 is the Phoenician exhibition, which is particularly interesting because of this period's importance and its near non-existence across Libyan sites. Phoenician culture rings more of a bell, telling that Carthage (now Tunisia) was part of this.