Chargé d’affaires of Greece to Libya, Yannis Stamatekos, visited Tobruk, the port city on Libya’s eastern Mediterranean coast, near the border with Egypt, and site of the ancient Greek colony Antipyrgos.

First stop of the visit was at the townhall where Y. Stamatekos had a cordial meeting with mayor Bualkhtabya and an in-depth discussion on ways to expand bilateral cooperation in business, transportation and education.

Second stop of the visit was at the German Cemetery, where 2,282 commonwealth soldiers and 171 of other nationalities, among them Greeks, rest.

The WWII fighting and siege of Tobruk claimed the lives of more than 6,000 soldiers resting at the German Cemetery.

A wreath laying ceremony by Chargé Mr. Stamatekos took place to honor their sacrifice.

Long and bloody history

Tobruk, also spelled Ṭubruq, port, northeastern Libya. It was the site of Antipyrgos, an ancient Greek agricultural colony, and thereafter a Roman fortress guarding the Cyrenaican frontier. The town later became a way station on the coastal caravan route. Because it is Libya’s only natural harbour, Tobruk was occupied by the Italians as early as 1911 and was subsequently used as a naval and air base for their military operations to the south.

During World War II Tobruk changed hands several times and was the focus of some of the most prolonged fighting in the North African theatre of operations. The British captured the port from the Italians in January 1941, taking 25,000 prisoners in the process. The British were then forced by the Germans to withdraw to the east, leaving Tobruk an isolated British garrison that was periodically besieged by the Germans (March 1941–June 1942) when the Germans captured the city, taking about 35,000 Allied troops prisoner and capturing immense quantities of matériel. The British finally recaptured Tobruk on November 13, 1942, after their Al-Alamein offensive.