Benghazi seeks funding to convert war-ravaged palace into museum
Libya's antiquities department is appealing for funding to help open a new national museum in Benghazi.
The ministry plans to convert the former al-Manar palace of King Idris into a new museum to house the country's extensive archaeological treasures.
"We have thousands of stored artefacts that we would like to display in the Benghazi Museum so that the Libyans can see the history of this city from prehistoric times through the Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic, Spanish, Turkish, Italian, Kingdom and Republican eras," a ministry spokesperson told The Libya Herald.
Among the thousands of historic treasures that could be shown at the museum are relics from the ancient city of Cyrene, the so-called 'Athens of Africa'.
Many of these relics were stolen around three months after the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, the deposed Libyan dictator, however many more remain intact in Italy, having been excavated by Italian colonial archaeologists in the 1940s.
The Manar palace is one of the oldest buildings in Benghazi, having been built during the Italian occupation in 1912. It later became the building for Libya's first university campus, opening in 1968.
The building has since fallen into disrepair, following years of civil war. The outer walls are marked with bullet-holes and requires tens of thousands of dollars worth of renovation works.