Wednesday, February 25, 2009


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 .

Last Wednesday I was invited by my friend Charleen to go as her guest with her international Ladies group called the OEA ( this is the original name for Tripoli ) Club to Yefern, which is in the Nafusa mountain range about 3 hours south/south west of Tripoli . We were the guest of Ms. Howida , who's mother's family is from Yefern . Howida had invited us all to have lunch in the hotel ( see the picture from the brochure above ) there in Yefern ,which by the way is run by a woman !

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 !


Pinky Tabor said...

This is beautiful, OTE. Very interesting. I think a treat to visit this place would be another request i'll be asking from my Habibi. :)

Rose Bud said...

I wish I was their too!

on the edge said...

It was a really wonderful trip !!! It filled my dreams for days afterwords .

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful trip, I was surprised to see that Hebrew appeared so far West, and at 2,200 years old, that is before Islam existed anywhere.

Also, I was intrigued... that you have 4 small coloured "bowels"... sorry, I'm an English teacher, I fall on mistakes like that like a vulture... LOL


on the edge said...

A. V. .... everybody's got to be a smart aleck ! LOL ! Yep , I can't spell or write either by the looks of things sometimes , lol ! Glade you stopped by man ! Oh BTW ... could you please send me the correct blog address that I am to link up to when I do " S" ? I was on a all nighter and can't remember which one I read that challenge . And the rules again too , PLEASE? Aw , you're a nice guy !

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for this great blog about Yefren , and I’m glad you had a great time over there, I myself from that lovely place and I wish and hope it would stay preserved and intact for everyone to see and appreciated, and when I brought my young family few years ago to Yefren, my wife who happened to be non Libyan fell in love of it at first sight it and wants to live there in our retirement days. There are so many places to explore in Yefren and Nafosa mountain in general, and the best time to go would during spring time..make sure to book a couple of days there at least to make the most of it and enjoy it .


Anonymous said...

It is great to have this usefull information. However,please note that the picture shown in this page marked as the kitchen., it is not a kitchen. It is an old house located in Shgarana(Algosba) in Yafran, it is more than 130 years old, it is built by my grand fatherIssa Alaswed, I personally used to live in this house about 40 years ago (1950-1970). If you want further information, You can contact me using my e mail:

on the edge said...

Thanks for the information !!! I didn't have that knowledge when I posted the story . Thanks again and loved the visit !!!