Libya wants to boost its tourism with the underground dwellings in the city of Ghariane, in the north-west of the country. These houses, most of them centuries old, are the rock and merge into the rocky slopes of the Mount Nefoussa. They are real treasures and a lever of tourism development for Libya.
The town of Ghariane, in north-western Libya, still has a few dozen troglodyte houses. These buildings troglodytes These areas, which are temperate in winter and cool in summer, are not only used for human and livestock habitation. In addition, some were used for worship, while others were fortified and had a military use.
True works of architecture, these constructions respected the nature of the rock in which they were dug to avoid any collapse. According to the details of Al-Arbi Belhaj, a descendant of a builder of an underground house, ” There are three types of underground houses: the damous, the fasil and the housh al-hafr, like the house of my ancestor Omar Belhaj… The fasil is built on a sloping place, in the shape of a semicircle, called a garra, in the dialect here, and it has three or four rooms, and the second semicircle is completed with a building; half of it is dug underground and the other half is built.
Some of these homes have already been More than 2,300 years old, but only one house has been preserved in good condition. Many homeowners have moved away from traditional buildings to more modern housing. And since 2011, they have not been frequented enough. The Berber populations of Mount Nefoussa and their troglodyte houses have long been a tourist attraction.
In one way or another, these buidings represent the remains of a rich civilisation. “There is a lot of shared heritage in the culture of the Damous underground houses and the Housh al-Hafr with our brothers in Tunisia…From Nalut to Gabes, there is the Zenata tribe, from Matmata to Tataouine, all of them are ancient Libyan or Amazigh towns and colonies. The same motifs and styles are present in Nalut, or in Yefren. explains historian Youssef Al-Khattali.
On the other hand, everything stopped in 2011 with the fall and death of Gaddafi. Today, the country of seven million people intends to turn the page on a decade of chaos. Thus, the cave houses could become a source of recovery for the Libyan economy. The inhabitants hope that the return of tourism to the country will help them to restore and maintain the place.