Deep in the Naufosa mountains are traditional troglodyte homes of the Berber tribe, dug 20 feet in the ground to enjoy even temperatures in the heat of the day and chill of the night.
The cave art of the Jebel Acacus range dates back 12,000 years and depicts hunting, festivities, animals and lovemaking, indications that the desert here was once far more temperate.
Leptis Magna, which is just an hour's drive west of the capital of Tripoli, is the site that has the best chance of drawing crowds, observers say. "Libya's Roman ruins are not just impressive within Libya," historian Justin Marozzi says. "They are among the greatest sites in North Africa."
The port city appeared to have been established more than 3,000 years ago by the great sailors and traders of the eastern Mediterranean, the Phoenicians. It became part of the Roman Empire and was converted into a true showpiece when one of its citizens, Lucius Septimius Severus, was made emperor in the second century. Leptis Magna is a Latinization of the city's original Phoenician name.
During its Roman prime, Leptis Magna was an important transit point for exotic animals bound for the blood-soaked stadiums of ancient Rome, where elephants, lions and ostriches were among more than 9,000 wild animals killed during 100 days of celebrations that marked the opening of Rome's Coliseum in 81 A.D.
Septimius Severus exempted the city from provincial taxes and funded improvements to the harbor to rectify its tendency to silt up, allowing it to flourish as a trading port.