Interview with Mr Alraheem: “the son of Cyrene (Κυρήνη)”
INTERVIEW WITH ABDUL ALRAHEEM ALMABROUK
In the southern coast of modern-day Libya just opposite from Crete, ancient colonizers from the Greek island of Thera built the glorious city of Cyrene (Kyrini/Κυρήνη). Abdul Alraheem Almabrouk, a committed archeologist who is Director of International Archaeological Missions at the Libyan Antiquities Department in Shahat (Cyrene) explains us the history of this fascinating city and guides us to its ruins.
THE SON OF CYRENE
M.G.N.: Tell us Mr. Abdul Alraheem Almabrouk about yourself and your job on the archeological site of Cyrene.
A.A.A.: As the Director of International Archaeological Missions at the Libyan Antiquities Department in Shahat my main job duty is communicating with international archaeological researchers, universities, and institutes regarding their work in Cyrene. Also, I work with the department’s researchers on surveying areas for new excavations, researching newly discovered artefacts, . I give lectures in Libyan universities on how to preserve this cultural heritage And I give lectures in Libyan universities in how to preserve this cultural heritage and publishing reports in major periodical in the field.
M.G.N.: What is the history of Cyrene?
A.A.A.: The history of the arrival the first Greek settlers in Eastern Libya (Cyrenaica) is based on the historical record of Herodotus which was a mix of mythological tales and oral history. However, as the Greeks were sailing the North African coasts for trade for hundreds of years before starting the settlements in Cyrenaica, its logical to assume there was contact with the Cyrenaican inhabitants with the purpose of trade. The first Greek settlement started around the middle of the seventh century B.C. and from that the first settlement arose as a center to facilitate trade between the locals and the Greek. Then the two Libyan regions of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica became part of the Roman Empire around 96 B.C. The area became part of the Byzantine Empire in the first half of the fourth century A.D. until the Arab-Moslem conquest in 642 A.D.
M.G.N.: Describe us the archeological site of Cyrene.
A.A.A.: Cyrene has three major archeological sites: Apollo Sanctuary, The Agora-Fourm, and the Northern Necropolis. In brief, those sites contain temples, theaters, administration buildings, palaces, mausoleums, and churches from the Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods. Those sites were designated as a UNESCO world heritage sites.
M.G.N.: What do you like about the ancient Greek civilization?
A.A.A.: The interesting thing about the ancient Greek civilization is that it spread around the Mediterranean world through trade and treaties and enhanced human progress by science, philosophy, architecture, and the arts.
M.G.N.: Do tourists visit the site of Cyrene?
A.A.A.: Currently, the sites are visited mainly by local tourists because of the combination of security situation after the political crisis of 2011 and Covid-19.
M.G.N.: Do you have a message for our Greek readers?
A.A.A.: I recommend to those readers who are interested in history and archaeology to pursue a career in this field since there are many areas of research throughout the Mediterranean region. Also, I hope that the readers visit Cyrene because it has important sites of the ancient Greek civilization, and if any of the readers has visited the archeological site of Delphi, they will find a great similarity in Cyrene in the mountainous location and the style of theaters, temples, and statues from the archaic period, and in general the Doric style.
Thank you Mr Abdulraheem Almabrouk for this interview