Being only about 20 km north of
Cyrene, Apollonia was
established in the 7th century BC to serve as a seaport for the
city of Cyrene. Its importance and success grew with time where it
became more influential than Cyrene itself.
It was named after the
Greek Sun-god Apollo and hence Apollonia, the Sun City, may have been built in his honour by the Greek colonists, to secure the protection of the god to safeguard the ships laden with goods. This may also explain the etymology of the present form of the name, namely Sousa, which some sources say comes from
Sozousa (The Savior) and therefore Susa or Sousa may well have been the Byzantine replacement of the earlier pagan Apollonia.
The entrance to the archaeological site.
The sign says: no stay (camping) and no swimming inside the site.
The city offers a
number of great sites to see, like its partially submerged harbour,
the Acropolis, the temples of Zeus and Apollo, the rock graves of Necropolis, the Byzantine churches, the
Agora, and the remains of a sunken or immersed Greek town
(see map above).
The area around Apollonia is also the home
of lush green groves, several attractive beaches,
like those between al-Hena and Ras-al-Hamama, the biggest cistern in
Africa, and the nearby Qaser Libya, the home of the Byzantine basilicas.
Visit Our Apollonia Museum
The Byzantine Church in Apollonia.
The Byzantine Church in Apollonia by the coast.