Nalut: Lalout

ancient Berber castles in Nalut

Nalut Castle, Libya.  Image is combined from three photos

The name Nalut is also pronounced by the local Berbers as Lalut or Lalout , which may relate to the nearby site of Tala: the Berber Spring-goddess, who is often mentioned in conjunction with the title Nana, as in Nana Tala, in nearby Jado. Nalut is one of the most interesting Berber settlements of  Nafousa Mountain. It is located about 270 km south east of Tripoli, and approximately 2000 feet above sea level. It is the last Nafousa settlement before descending towards the desert oasis of Ghadames, passing by Sinnawen and Durj. Nalut, being only 60 km from the Tunisian border, has played an important role in the ancient caravan trade. Some of the best preserved Berber granaries and castles are found in Nalut, which attract a large number of tourists, in their way to mythical Ghadames, including Nalut Old Castle.



The present town of Nalut is surrounded by the ruins of old villages and settlements, most of which have never been excavated before. Places of interest include several caves and castles, like those of Nalut Old Castle, Tseenan and Teltayeen; several natural springs, like those of Tala and Touneen; and, a number of ancient ruins and villages surrounding Nalut city. The spectacular Berber fortified granary, which has nearly 400 rooms, was originally used to store grain, oil and other produce for safe keeping (an ancient Berber bank).   The granary, also known as Ghasro (The Old Castle), is situated on a steep hillside, surrounded by the remains of the old, deserted village. It was said that the castle was built in 1240 AD, while locals say it is at least 2000 years old. Proper archaeological research perhaps can settle the issue.

nalut castle top


Nalut old city street

The Streets of Old Nalut.


storage large jar

According to some archaeologists, Libya is one of the last places left where very little work has been done. There have been five reports of dinosaurs discovered in Libya since 1960. One recent report came from the Nalut area, where fossil remains of a Dinosaur were discovered in the Mardwat region, about 1km north-east of Nalut.


dinosaur fossil from Nalut

Fossilised dinosaur bone from Nalut.
You can see more of these at the building of the Red Crescent in Nalut:




Nalut Spring, Cultural & Tourist Festival

nalut castle door

Ancient castle door
showing the Berber magical symbols: the hand, the star and the moon.


Nalut Spring Festival, as the name suggests, was established to revive and promote the local Berber culture, traditions, industries and art as part of Libya's sacred heritage. Being on the main route to Ghadames the festival has attracted a number of foreign visitors, in their way to the desert sites of Acacus and Ubari. In fact, many tourists come specifically to visit this festival, as they do visit the festivals of Ghat and Ghadames and also the Festival in the Desert: the Tuareg Festival in Mali.


nalut festival man riding a horse

Nalut Festival: a man wearing traditional Libyan clothes and riding a horse.


The History of Nalut Festival

The first Nalut Festival, which took place in 1976, was a great success and attended by several ministers from the Libyan government. But then the events took the usual turn, and the second Nalut Festival never took place until 2005. After the success of the Third Festival in 2006, the Libyan People's General Committee for Culture endorsed the festival as part of the cultural heritage of Libya. The Fourth Festival was then held in the Spring of 2007, followed by the Fifth in 2008, and the Sixth in 2009 (as shown in these photos).


nalut festival traditional Libyan music band

Nalut Festival:
traditional Libyan music band:
the bagpipe is called zukra (zekrah) or tishekwet (in Berber), and the drum (eddenget).



The Goals of Nalut Festival

  • Presenting traditional Berber heritage of Nalut and Nafousa Mountain.
  • Encouraging local voluntary work among the young generations.
  • Preserving and restoring the Berber archaeological sites of Nalut.
  • Reviving the native Libyan culture and engaging the new generations to participate in preserving Berber culture.
  • Encouraging and promoting local tourism.
  • Work towards establishing an International festival to attract tourists from around the world.
  • Encouraging the revival and preservation of traditional Berber industries and crafts.

nalut festival

Nalut Festival.



The Achievements of Nalut Festival

  • Owing to the spirit of the festival, the people of Nalut wore traditional clothes during the festival; although Libyan traditional clothes are still popular without the need for any festivals, except among the young generations, who recently began to follow imported fashion (jeans, t-shirts and baseball caps). The festival has also succeeded in establishing voluntary work and the determination to work collectively towards achieving its goals.

  • The restoration of the ancient Nalut Castle through three stages, of the road in the old town, and of some of the ancient houses in the Old Town, together with repairing the old track linking Nalut Castle with the forest of Tala.

  • The number of tourists has increased from 750 in 2005 to 3000 tourists in 2006, and to 7000 in 2007.

  • An increase in the uptake of traditional industries, especially among women, as a result of their participation in the festival.


nalut festival

Nalut Festival.

nalut festival tuareg dance

Nalut Festival: Berber Tuareg Dance.

Nalut House  built of stones

Traditional Berber-style houses from Nalut.

traditional oil press from nalut

A traditional Berber Oil Press From Nalut.




up towards nalut

Nalut: the beautiful town of Nalut is surrounded by a valley from three sides, providing a magnificent view from its summit, looking down at the plains and the spiraling road leading to the top of the mountain.

Nalut mountains from above the city of Nalut

A view From Nalut.

nalut rock formations