Archaeological Site of Sabratha
A Phoenician trading-post that served as an outlet for the products of the African hinterland, Sabratha was part of the short-lived Numidian Kingdom of Massinissa before being Romanized and rebuilt in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D.
Sabratha was the westernmost of the ancient “three cities” of Roman Tripolis. From 2001 to 2007 it was the capital of the former Sabratha wa Sorman District. It lies on the Mediterranean coast about 66 km (41 mi) west of modern Tripoli. The extant archaeological site was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.
Besides its Theatre at Sabrathathat retains its three-storey architectural backdrop, Sabratha has temples dedicated to Liber Pater, Serapis and Isis. There is a Christian basilica of the time of Justinian and also remnants of some of the mosaic floors that enriched elite dwellings of Roman North Africa (for example, at the Villa Sileen, near Khoms). However, these are most clearly preserved in the coloured patterns of the seaward (or Forum) baths, directly overlooking the shore, and in the black and white floors of the Theatre baths.
There is an adjacent museum containing some treasures from Sabratha, but others can be seen in the national museum in Tripoli.
Due to soft soil composition and the nature of the Coast of Sabratha being mostly made up of soft rock and sand, the Ruins of Sabratha are undergoing dangerous periods of coastal erosion. The public baths, Olive Press building and ‘Harbor’ can be observed as being most damaged as the buildings have crumbled due to storms and unsettled seas.
This Erosion of the coast of Ancient Sabratha can be seen yearly with significant differences in beach layout and recent crumbled buildings. Breakwaters set in the vicinity of the Harbor and Olive press are inadequate and too small to efficiently protect the Ancient City of Sabratha.