By Tom Little.
Tripoli, 14 December:
The King’s Palace in Tripoli, officially known as the Museum of Libya, today Friday hosted the opening . . .[restrict]of an exhibition of historic photographs of the capital between 1870 and 1970.
The exhibition, organised by the Foundation of Tripolitanian Heritage and supported by Tripoli Local Council, brought together over 400 photos of the city from the Ottoman and Italian periods as well as that of King Idris.
Researchers found the pictures in archives, on specialist websites and even managed to secure some donations from private collectors, who gave original photos of Tripoli to be displayed in the show.
Husam Imam, coordinator of the foundation, said he was proud of the exhibition. However, it was particularly poignant because many of the historic buildings from the pictures were knocked down during Qaddafi’s rule.
“All Libyans loved these buildings, and he demolished them for his propaganda. There are many examples of it. There was a building called the Banca d’Italia, established by the Italians, and you would have cried if you had seen it,” he said.
The bank was built by the Italians in a mock-Mughal style, and was one of the city’s most distinctive buildings. However, it was demolished and a small café now stands in its place on the original site next to Martyrs’ Square.
Imam said it was important for Libyans to know their heritage. “We want to rebuild the historical memory, it’s our national heritage. We want people to know everything about their city and their country.”
Other high profile guests included the head of Tripoli Local Council, Sadat Elbadri, and the Minister of Tourism, Ikram Abdulsalam Imam.
Mustafa Abushagur, former deputy prime minister, also attended the opening and said that it showed Tripoli’s cosmopolitan background as Turkish and Italian influences mixed but “always with a Libyan touch.”
Abushagur told the Libya Herald he hoped the exhibition would inspire local people to make their city great again.
“It’s very important to think about our history and to see what’s happened. Hopefully, it will help us look forward and we can take things from there,” he said.