This page is dedicated to some of the most impressive, but almost unknown archaeological sites around the world.
Sabratha – Libya
(Arabic: صبراتة, romanized: Ṣabrāta; also Sabratah, Siburata)
Sabratha lies on the Mediterranean coast about 70 km (43 mi) west of modern Tripoli. The extant archaeological site was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.
Sabratha’s port was established, perhaps about 500 BCE, as a Phoenician trading-post. The port served as a Phoenician outlet for the products of the African hinterland. After the demise of Phoenicia, Sabratha fell under the sphere of influence of Carthage.
Besides its Theater that 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 colored patterns of the seaward (or Forum) baths, directly overlooking the shore, and in the black and white floors of the theater baths. There is an adjacent museum containing some treasures from Sabratha, but others can be seen in the national museum in Tripoli.
Ctesiphon – Iraq
(/ˈtɛsɪfɒn/ TESS-if-on; Middle Persian: 𐭲𐭩𐭮𐭯𐭥𐭭 tyspwn or tysfwn; Persian: تیسفون; Greek: Κτησιφῶν, Attic Greek: [ktɛːsipʰɔ̂ːn]; Syriac: ܩܛܝܣܦܘܢ)
Ctesiphon was an ancient city, located on the eastern bank of the Tigris, about 35 kilometres (22 mi) southeast of present-day Baghdad. Ctesiphon served as a royal capital of the empires in the Parthian and Sasanian eras for over eight hundred years.
The archway of Chosroes (Taq Kasra) was once a part of the royal palace in Ctesiphon and is estimated to date between the 3rd and 6th centuries AD. It is located in what is now the Iraqi town of Salman Pak. It was the facade of the main palace in Ctesiphon, and is the only visible remaining structure of the ancient capital city. The archway is considered a landmark in the history of architecture, and is the second largest single-span vault of unreinforced brickwork in the world after Gavmishan Bridge. The arched hall, open on the facade side, was about 37 meters high, 26 meters across and 50 meters long, the largest man-made, free standing vault constructed until modern times.
Ctesiphon developed into a rich commercial metropolis, merging with the surrounding cities along both shores of the river, including the Hellenistic city of Seleucia. Ctesiphon and its environs were therefore sometimes referred to as “The Cities” (Aramaic: Mahuza, Arabic: المدائن, al-Mada’in). In the late sixth and early seventh century, it was listed as the largest city in the world by some accounts.