Ptolemais, Ad Dirsiyah, Libya 

The port of Tolmeitha or Tholmeitha  is generally know as Ptolemais — after Ptolemy III. The village is located in a beautiful area between the Green Mountain and the sea, about 30 km east of Almerj. It was founded as port to serve Almerj, after it became a busy commercial centre during the sixth century BC, with goods arriving from the nearby ports, such as Alexandria port in Egypt, as well as to export the main produce of the region, like silphium, honey, butter and grains.

Tolmeitha rose to fame so quickly and became the capital of Cyrenaica during the 4th and 5th centuries AD. Historical records show that the port was originally called “Berqa Port”, which also indicates the existence of the site before the Greek invasions, after which it became known as Ptolemais. It was thought that the city was founded during the reign of Ptolemy III, after his marriage to the local princess Berenice, who gave her name to ancient Berenice.

Epic Libya Culture & Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

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