The valley of caves

East of Benghazi lies the”Valley of caves”.A group of us Indian expats were on the way to see the roman ruins of Cyrenne when we had a stopover there.

in the valley

The “Valley of caves” (Wad-al-kuf) lies just off the Benghazi  – Al Bayda route in the Jebel Akhdar (Green mountain) region.We had a 1960s BMW belching petrol fumes and a Libyan driver for company.The route from Benghazi is characterized by scrubby vegetation.It gets a lot prettier and greener as one climbs up into the hills.In fact I was pleasantly surprised to see apple orchards as we neared Al Bayda.

a large cave

The Jebel Akhdar region has a large number of natural caves.The valley is about 8 km long and runs in a east west direction.The Haua Fteah cave is considered the largest in the Mediterranean region.It is being excavated by British archeologists in an attempt to piece together the prehistoric history of the region.

omar mukhtar honoured on a libyan ten dinar note

The caves were used by the Libyan resistance leader Omar Mukhtar  as a base to fight a twenty year old guerrilla war against the Italian occupation.This bedouin school teacher was finally captured and hanged in 1931 when he was well over 70 years old.The Libyan hero has been immortalised by Anthony Quinn in the Hollywood movie “the lion of the desert”.The craggy terrain and clear blue skies definitely make for a beautiful movie location.After enjoying the sights and the mandatory photographs we moved onward on our journey to Cyrenne ruins.

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