Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A tiny part of the rich Libyan traditions : Ghadames

The Libyan city of Ghadames is renowned for its unique style of architecture, traditions and culture. Amongst these interesting traditions is the one found in a typical Ghadames home where a small peephole is made into the front door. A visitor would look through it inside the house at a reflection in a mirror hung on the wall opposite the door. This mirror reflects the picture of an oil lamp placed on a shelf.
There are 6 positions for the lamp, and these positions inform the visitor of what’s going on in this home and so help him to act/decide accordingly.

Whilst reading the local press in May of 2001, I came across an artist's drawing and a brief explanatory text of what I was talking about above, unfortunately this is not available online to be linked too and I could not find the author to credit him/her. So whoever you are thank you for this explanation. However I did cut out the diagram with the symbols and here it is for you dear readers.

1-There is a wedding or engagement in the house.
2-A birth
4-Illness or death
5-Father not home
6-Father home please come in!

How cool is that ? Those Ghadamsi people were such an ingenious society.


Islamic Poetry said...

Nice blog you have here Mashallah.
Please take a look at mine and link it up here.

AGRADA said...

Here I'm

Thanx for sharing such an important information about our libyan forgotten civilization, I'm exteremly devoted to this issue, we need to discover ourselves as libyans..we need to take care of our history and our treasures..i hope to be an archeologist one i can remove the dust from the libyan history.

thanx again.

Hannibal said...

I find this really neat although one should be carfeul not to confuse a father is not home with an illness or death:) by the way is it still used nowadays in libya?

PS: By the way did Adib send you the log-in?

AlanK said...


Some good information, an interesting custom and easily communicated as well + liked the camel picture below as well

Highlander said...

Islamic poetry : Thank you.

Agrada: these things fascinate me as well. Yes I would love to read more and more about Libya's rich past. So archeology is your hobby ?

Hannibal, this is a Ghadamsi tradition, but your question is a good and valid one. Now I'm wondering do they still practice it in Ghadames or not ? It is so far from Tripoli that I cannot check myself, but I need to make an e-friend there and ask her/him. Something to look forward too.

Re. your question , yes Ig ot the log in , I simply was away and busy. But now I'm back.

Alank K Glad you liked it, I learned that camel photos are popular from the Religious Policeman ;). Next will be cat photos...

Miryam Al Etawish Navarro said...

Loving your blog! InshaAllah Rabbi preserves your talent for writing