albarouni museum building

Jado's Soulaiman Albarouni Museum

Albarouni Museum in Jado is different from most of the other museums in Libya. Likewise Ghadames museum, it displays the heritage of the Berber people, and as such it was rightly listed by the Unesco on the Libyan tourist map. It embodies a unique mix of Berber architecture and traditional everyday objects and artifacts; most of which have been in use since prehistoric times, and many of which appear to slowly disappear whence they came. The Berbers of Libya had endured so much persecution from Libya's installed regimes, as much as they still do today. The Berbers hope the newly-installed rulers can reverse the trend and allow the Berber unrestricted freedom to run their own destiny. As a result of the recent awareness of the true value of Libyan culture, history and heritage, many societies began reviving their inherited traditions and collecting their oral lore for publishing in the Internet. This was hoped to slow down the rate of disappearance as well as to teach the newer generations the traditions of the past ancestors. For example, during Kabaw's festival period, all the residents of Kabaw agree to wear traditional clothes and leave their jeans and baseball caps at home - for that day at least! They have also managed to run training sessions for girls to learn the arts of weaving Berber carpets and other textiles. Another good example for this cultural awareness and revival is the Tuareg Imzad Project (The Imzad Hearers), which provides training for young girls to continue playing the imzad, their mothers played since immemorial time.


entrance to albarouni museum

Usually museums are funded and most often built by the state or private sponsors. But Albarouni Museum was created and built by the young people of Jado's al-Barouni Club, to preserve and represent their heritage. They had no helping hand from the previous government nor any funds went their way. The visitor will be rewarded with genuine items and models of traditional crafts and industries as well as ancient archaeological stone artifacts, some of which date from the Roman period. The Romans must have stopped at various locations in the Nafousa Mountain in their way to meet the Berber Garamantes of the Sahara, south of Nafousa. Most modern desert and mountain roads followed ancient tracks used by people, chariots and caravans, and the road from Tripoli to Nafousa and Ghadames was one of them.


entrance door

As soon as you enter the museum, you will see the welcoming sign, then the oil press.


museum banner showing the name

The sign reads:
math'ef almujahid Soulaiman Albarouni bi-Jado,
the museum of (the-freedom-fighter) Soulaiman Albarouni in Jado.

The Western Mountain's Albarouni, together with Omar Almokhtar of the Green Mountain,
were the main two heroes and leaders of Libya's struggle for independence during the Italian occupation.


the oil press

Andour ('oil press')

This is a photo of a stone oil press, similar to those mentioned in the Ghirza records, and in other parts of the mountain. The stone is kept in motion by an animal, usually a cow. They are used to extract oil out of local olives. The long rod going through the big stone is called Ougem, while the remaining crushed olive stones and fiber is known as Taa'eqqeet.


oil press scene with man at work


After the olives were crushed into a rough mixture and placed on those circular straw mats (the model-worker is holding in the photo), they were stacked one on top of the other, as you can see, and the oil was squeezed out by means of pressing, as shown in the next photo.


oil presser


compressing tool

Iner or Ineer (centre): a large form of an oil lamp.


oil lamp
Usual clay oil lamp.


wooden bowl



sculpture of hands and feet

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Hands and feet are an integral part of Berber iconography and mythology.
Why not; the feet take you to all walks of life, and the hands are responsible for most, but not all, of what you do. The two things you really need to watch out for in life: where you go and what you do.


farming scene engraved ona stone

A farming scene: a farmer ploughing the earth with the aid of a camel.




the symbol of the Goddess Tannit painted in white on the  orange wall

The drawing symbolises the Goddess Tannit, written in Tifinagh.
The label behind the fork reads: zzazel - the name of the tool before it



aglouz, Berber wooden tools



a large clay jar



small clay pots, straw covers



wooden kitchen tools, mortar, pts and jars




quern, stone mill ontp of a sheep skin, with grains nearby

Berber Tasirt ('Quern')

The stone mill or the quern still is an important part of the Berber kitchen. Its universal Berber name is tasirt, clearly labeled in both Tifinagh and Arabic. Leather skins are also still in use, and provide comfortable and warm seats; especially the fluffy sheep skins. But also they can be used as mats upside down.



Clay jars, pots and mortar.

displays of objects

Modern compositions employing ancient elements.


wooden writing tablets

Wooden writing tablets.


archs inside the building




The spherical straw covers are used as food covers. They are called andu (plural: inda), woven of palm leaves, and decorated with patterns spiraling towards the point at the raised centre. The straw allows the steam rising form the hot food to pass through, rather than condense back onto the food. Similarly, the clay jars and pots used traditionally to store drinking water do a good job of cooling the water during hot summer days to a chilling point because the surface of the clay allows the water to breathe through the microscopic cavities.


a door, wooden panels