The haunted natural rock fortress of Idinen, also known as the legendary Fortress
of Ghosts, or the Cave of the Jinn, is located in the southern region of Libya,
about 25 km north of Ghat. It is bordered by Wadi Tanezuft along the east and
the Algerian border from the west. The Idinen summit is about 1280 metres high,
and is an offshoot of the mountain nearby. The trail from the Algerian border-side,
from Meggedet to Ghat, allows an excellent view of this strange mountain. In
fact Meggedet itself
is also the home of some bizarre rock formations, of massive sculptures of "devilish"
figures that can be easily associated with this mountain.
In some maps this is marked as Kaf Ejoul (example, Gizi Map), which it seems
is a corruption of Kahf (cave) and Ajnoun (the jinn or genies), meaning the Cave
of the Jinn, which Lonely Planet says it once was known to the local Berber Tuareg
as the Devil's Hill. This means that the name Idinen, which is given
by the EWP Acacus map and also Encyclopedia Britannica, may be the Berber Tuareg
word for djunoun, English jinn, plural jinni; from
Latin genius (guardian spirit).
Genie - an invisible spirit mentioned in ancient mythologies,
believed to inhabit the subtreanean earth. They were said to have powers to influence
humans and can appear in various forms including humans and animals. There are
so many stories in Libyan folklore about humans whom you might meet during the
course of life and talk to, but in reality they are not humans. So watch out
who you talk to in Libya!
The Devil's Hill
According to the explorer Hugh Clapperton, who visited the area in 1822, some
of the inhabitants of the mountain, apparently with red hair, were heard to beat
their drums at night and fire their musquets; which some interpret as a reference
to colonial men arriving with their guns during the pre-colonial period. Musquet
is a variant spelling of "musket", which is a smoothbore shoulder gun
used from the late 16th through the 18th century.
The Genie's Castle
The Mountain of the Ghosts.
The Jinni City.
Looking like a hunted citadel crowned with a magical fortress-like summit,
the mountain was thus assumed the abode of mythical beings. According to Berber
Tuareg mythology the Devil's Hill was once a "Hall of Council",
where genies met to discuss their affairs.
In 1845 James Richardson, one of the late explorers of the sahara, became
ill and confused after he attempted to climb the summit of the Genies' Mountain.
While the great explorer Heinrich Barth, needless to introduce, was dehydrated
and tired by the time he reached the top, and lost his way and collapsed in the
way down. Feeling hungry and thirsty he slit one of his veins open and drank
his own blood, but he was lucky to be found by a local Tuareg - all feverish
and close to death herself.
Locals and travellers have reported hearing strange sounds coming from the
mountain, and there are various stories about encounters with other beings.
Of course, this is only what people say, and coincidence too plays its usual
tricks; but who is to decide without sufficient knowledge and without proper
research? Logic always teaches us to seek rational explanations for unknown events,
until such time when revealed by science.
The Road to Saharan Hell
Believe it or leave it; but rest assured that the local Tuareg inhabitants
of the region will go nowhere near the forbidden fortress at the top. Owing to
stories like these and similar other strange tales, it is often difficult, if
not impossible, to get the locals to go up the mountain with tourists. If a visitor
is fancying the visit to the top, they need to be prepared to do it by themselves,
without any local guide. The guide and the driver would set up camp at the base
of the mountain and await your safe return. The Tuareg also say there was one
Tuareg who went to the top and never returned.
The Fortress of the Jinn.
The Abode of the Jinn