• Registration Year


  • Registered Sector

    Old Town of Ghadames

  • Historical Function

    Defense and trade (dates).

Location and site

Between the Maghreb and the heart of Africa, Ghadames is at the intersection of Libya's borders with Tunisia and Algeria. Located 300 km. southwest of Tripoli, this oasis is situated on the northern border of the Sahara in the Province of Fezzan, which was on the caravan routes.

Urban Morphology

The spatial configuration of Ghadames is unusual. Its plan, which is circular, is enclosed by the reinforced back-walls of the houses at the periphery. The streets are like narrow, obscure corridors which almost seem to be underground. These routes, which are integrated into the architecture of the dwellings at the ground floor level, are used only by men. Women circulate at the level of the rooftops, where there it is possible to move freely from terrace to terrace.

Pisé, mud brick and palm trees are the basic construction materials of these dwellings, which are generally two storeys in height plus an attic. The decoration of their exteriors and interiors provides a sharp contrast to their stark whitewashed walls.

Registration Criteria

The traditional habitat of Ghadames is "an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement which is representative of a culture and which has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change." (V)

Historical Reference

  • Cornelius Barbus, the proconsul of Africa, submitted the Ghadames stronghold after his victories over the African tribes of the Garamantes in 19 B.C. The entire Fezzan territory became the Roman Province of Phazania.
  • The Christian Fezzan community was conquered by the Arabs in 666 A.D. and was thereafter integrated into the history of Islam.
  • In the 10th century, during the heyday of the Kingdom of Ghana, which was famous for its gold trade, Ghadames became a stopover point on the caravan route between Kairouan and Ghana. In the 15th and 16th centuries, during the peak of the Mali Empire, which had taken over the rule of the Kingdom of Ghana, Ghadames renewed its role as a stopover point, this time on the route that linked Cairo with Tripoli and Tombouctou.
Mr. Kasim Ibrahim Sneibar
Municipality of Ghadames

Ghadames, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
+218.21 361.0109, +218.21 361.9786
+218.21 361.9787
Mr. Khaider B. Malik
General Manager
Old City of Ghadames

Ghadames, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
+218 484.2351