You can see where Yefren , spelled Yafran on the map above , is located .
This was the view from the hotel balcony of the hills that descend down to the Jirfarah Plain below from the mountains where we were in Yefern . It took us 3 hours by bus to go through the mountains to Yefern , but only 15 minutes to descend through this mountain pass to the plains below .
The below is the entrance to the synagogue , which was built in a cave . Many people used to live in caves hollowed out from the mountain sides for protection from the weather and also for security reasons . In the picture below this one , you can still see Hebrew carved into the rock wall .
This is a old olive oil press . This is the old house . You can see the view of the town from the window in the old house . The kitchen has a wall that is part of the mountain that is next to it . The last picture is of a cubby hold in the kitchen .
She also invited us to go see her ancestral home which is next to a cave dwelling. Many mountain people used to live in caves long ago. The house still belongs to her family . We saw an old olive oil press too . We were taken to see one of the oldest surviving synagogues in Libya named Hawarien . It is 2200 years old and was a place of pilgrimage back in it's hey days before Islam was present in North Africa .
Yefern is mainly populated by Berbers, as are most of the mountain towns here in Libya. They have their own culture and language separate from the Libyan national Arabic language and Arab culture . Usually in the homes Berber is spoken , while in public Arabic is spoken is used as the official language .
We had a truly wonderful time there in Yefern . The people welcomed us with open arms . The hotel we went to for lunch was very nice . It had fantastic Libyan national dishes for us to eat such as cous cous with mutton that was so tender it fell off the bone . After our feast a Libyan band called a Zukara came in to entertain us ( see the previous post " Zukara ) . They played and danced for us for about 30 or more minutes . A unheard of treat! Our hostesses sister dressed up as a Libyan bride in traditional dress . She was so pretty ! The hotel staff was helpful and polite . The hotel itself was so clean ! They were so warm and friendly to all of us making this a day to remember .
Sadly we ran out of time before we had to head home . We didn't get to see the Roman tower ( see picture above) or any of the 3 original villages of Yefren that were built on the mountain side . We did get to see them from the bus window on our way down the mountain side through the pass . I want to say here that we had a great bus driver ! He was really good and I would feel safe with him driving me anywhere !
Once we had reached the floor of the plains below , we stopped so many of the women could look and shop for many hand made pottery items that the mountains are famous for here in Libya . I received as presents from Charleen a lovely coffee mug that will always bring happy memories to me as I drink from it . I love that the roses have dew drops on them and the rich colors . My other friend that went with us bought me 4 small bowels in colors that remind me of the sea . Their pictures are at the top of the page .Wish you could have been with us , because you would have loved the trip too !