Gadhafi May Be Hiding Weapons at Historic Site
Development could endanger Roman ruins at Leptis Magna
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 14, 2011 5:35 PM CDT
A general view shows the amphitheatre at the ancient ruins of Leptis Magna, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the Libyan coastal city of Lebda on April 15, 2011.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Libyan rebels say Moammar Gadhafi is hiding weapons at a UNESCO World Heritage site—and if arms are there, NATO won’t "rule out" bombing it, CNN reports. "We will strike military vehicles, military forces, military equipment or military infrastructure that threaten Libyan civilians as necessary,” said a NATO official, who could not confirm the rebel claims. So what is this place? Salon provides an overview of Leptis Magna, a site UNESCO says was one of the Roman Empire’s “most beautiful cities.”

Its port, UNESCO notes, was “one of the chefs d'oeuvre of Roman technology.” Leptis Magna began as a Phoenician city around 1000 BCE. The emperor Septimius Severus, who ruled from the years 193 to 211, was born there and greatly expanded it. It eventually entered Byzantine and then Arab hands, and has been a ruin for some 2,000 years. It’s “one of the best preserved Roman cities," says a British archeologist, but it has "attracted less attention” thanks to Libya’s “political situation.” Click through for some impressive photos of Leptis Magna.