Rise and Fall of Ptolemais

Situated north east of the city of Benghazi, ancient Ptolemais (Tolmeita) first came into existence in the 6th century BC but its foundation as a city was due to the Greek ruler of Egypt, Ptolemy the 3rd who gave it his name and laid out streets and public buildings.

The city’s importance increased during the Roman acquisition of Cyrenaica in 96AD when extensive public works were added. Excavations indicated Ptolemais residents were wealthy enjoying a high standard of living.

With the decline of Cyrene in the 3rd century AD Ptolemais became the capital of the region but suffered severely during the earthquake of 365AD.

A program of reconstruction did not save the city from losing its status to Apollonia when it became the capital of Upper Libya.

Ptolemais water supply system falling into disrepair as well as aggravated by a shortage of water forced the population to move away.

Despite aid from Emperor Justinian returning Ptolemais to a relative state of well being for a while, its death knell was sounded by the Arab conquest of Cyrenaica in the 7th century AD.

Visit the small museum housing excellent exhibits from the site, the Western Basilica, the Columned Palace, the Theatre and the underground Cisterns before you return to Benghazi.


Special Notes:
Comfortable walking shoes and a sun hat recommended.

Tour is suitable for elderly but not handicapped passengers who can walk and stand for long periods of time.

Not wheelchair accessible.

Toilets available at the museum.

Long walk on uneven pebbled ground from the museum to the site and back to the buses.


Tour Timings:

Tours begin at times suitable for the ship's arrival in port. The breakdown of the excursions is as follows:
00hr00 -> Depart from Benghazi Port

00hr00 -> 01hr30 Drive to Ptolemais
01hr30 -> 02hr00 Visit the museum
02hr00 -> 03hr30 Visit ancient site

03hr30 -> 05hr00 Drive to Benghazi


Tour Details

Tour Name:
Rise and Fall of Ptolemais

Sightseeing Shore Tours
Cultural Shore Tours

Tour ID:

Approximately 5hr00

medium excursion

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