Fifty-degree Sahara is one of the most famous places on the planet, the biggest part of which is not absolutely suitable for life. However, today we would like to arrive in the sands to see the incredible city Gadames. During the thousands years its citizens have been living out in the environment of the heat, but this place has given the desirable accommodation for everyone in need.
In the North of Sahara and its small sector three state borders are combined, particularly, Algeria, Libya, and Tunis. Such a location might cause a surprise because of the palm forest, springs and fruitful gardens. Exactly there was ancient commercial city Gadames while the nearest areas are called to be oasis. This commercial center considered to be the savory for the travelers is truly legendary because here caravans, ancient tribes, and foreign merchants might have a rest at least before continuing the way among the hot desert which does not allow to breath calmly. Moreover, at nights it transformed into the deep freeze with the winds chilling to the marrow.Photo theguidetolibya.com
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Photo by George Steinmetz georgesteinmetz.com
One is likely to get to Gadames following the highway from Tripoli, the capital of Libya which takes nearly 600 kilometers to drive. The same way could be taken from the nearest airport Gadames. It is worth choosing any ways because Gadames (particularly, its ancient part) is, actually, better than the greatest imagination could produce. It happens not because the nature is refreshing comparing with the surroundings. The verily city along with its architecture allows the citizens to save from the dangerous Sahara’s climate (by the way, as for the population, in all the times there is almost the same number of people, nearly ten thousand). Blocks of flats (exactly, wattle and daub houses) with flat roofs are able to live out the extreme temperatures. They are placed in Old City in such a way so that citizens could go along the special terraces, passages and galleries between decreasing their stay outside. Even though the palms are blossoming under the noise of thousand-year springs, in the afternoon heat becomes unbearable. It became the reason why many citizens of Libya moved to more modern cities and in ‘new Gadames’. They use the old city as the cottage to hide from the heat in the hottest months when even air conditioning cannot help. Photo by George Steinmetz georgesteinmetz.com
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Perhaps, there are not many people who can boast of having a cottage with the status of World UNESCO Heritage. In the same time, Libya’s citizens are able to do that. Their city that survived during the governance of Romans, visit of Byzantines and movement of Muslims resembles the museum open-air with the typical Middle East squares, religious objects, and markets. During the hundreds of years there were their own chronology, and special person ‘gadus’ at the central square with the water clocks was on the official service and defined the time of prayers and watering. In the meantime, the water was going accompanied by the religion because nowhere else are they estimated as much as in the desert. The special system from the stones fixed the water pressure and directions of the local springs and sources watering trees and other plants. The second important currency in Gadames is the date. This fruit could be the payment for everything because they are easy and fruitful, saved for a long time, and it means that they will be suitable for all the strangers. The date caravans are spread along all Africa and Middle East.Photo pinterest.com
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Of course, today this oasis has absolutely another life, and its main direction is the tourism. Thousands of people from all the continents tend to see one of the most ancient cities of our planet with the age that is hard to define, especially considering that it preserved quite well. Its unique planning, underground parts, blossoming gardens, settlements of nomads, crafts, wall painting make more and more tourist fall in love with these places. Even despite quite unstable recent situation in Libya, the local authorities along with the international donors and volunteers try to maintain infrastructure at the appropriate level. Indeed, it is the primary task of humanity to preserve such objects. We are also pleased by the fact that in the recent decade Gadames is getting more vivid and restored, because in the middle of the twentieth century people almost gave it up as hopeless. It blossoms especially in the national holidays when the temples and markets are overcrowded with the Libyans, Algerians, and Tunisians while near the city walls the nomads, Tuaregs and Beduins pitch their settlements. Looking at that, one understands that despite all the aforementioned, several things in our life are not susceptible to damage, especially in this city where time was understood originally. Photo by David Stanley flickr.com
Cover photо thoughtco.com