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World Heritage Site

for World Heritage Travellers



Ghadames is an oasis town and one of the oldest pre-Saharan cities.

The old part of the town, which is surrounded by a wall, has been declared World Heritage. Each of the seven clans that used to live in this part of the town had its own district, of which each had a public place where festivals could be held.

Map of Ghadames


  • Cultural

Community Reviews

Thomas Buechler Switzerland 20.10.13

Ghadames by Thomas Buechler

In the distant corner where Libya, Algeria and Tunesia meet,is Ghadames, an ancient Sahara outpost that was already mentionned in the time of Roman emperor Septimius Severus, 200 after Christ.The jewel of the oasis is the walled old city where 7 clans used to live seperately, but with an identical set up.Around 40 families, the heads meeting regularely to discuss matters and make decisions, a kind of early stage parliament right in the desert.Renowed for its distinctive architecture, we visit the old mosque and the Koranic school, the old butchery, a tailorshop, and a bakery right besides the living quarters.Some of them have been renovated and beautifully decorated.Nice fruit and vegetable gardens as well.It is possible to wander around on the rooftops from one house to the other on narrow house walls, which feels sometimes like a circus acrobat.Women in the old times were forbidden to wander the streets alone, and they used the rooftops as a thoroughfare.

Ghadames can be reached by private car, in a public bus or in shared taxis.Its s whole day trip.

Wortwhile stops are Qasr al-Hadj, Nalut or Cabao with its wonderful food storage fortresses and would be canditates for Unesco if Libya will ever have a tentative list!

We spent an unforgettable sunset time at the summit of the Ghost (Ras al Ghoul) and the huge sand dunes of Erg Oriental, very close to the Algerian border.

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Site Info

Full name: Old Town of Ghadames

Unesco ID: 362

Inscribed: 1988 In Danger

Type: Cultural

Criteria: 5  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 2016 - In Danger Simultaneously with the four other World Heritage sites of Libya "because of damage caused by the conflict affecting the country and the threat of further damage it poses".
  • 1988 - Inscribed 


The site has 1 locations.

  • Ghadames