THE SOKNA OASIS

Sokna Castle, surrounded by walls, is made up of two and three-story buildings, each arranged around a well in a wide courtyard: in the past, the courtyard was used as a safe shelter for soldiers and animals. Thanks to its precious reserves of high quality water, Sokna was for a long time the political capital of the area.

The Caimacan, the Ottoman Grand Vizier's Lieutenant, ruled over the entire Al Jufrah region. His capital was in the Sokna fortress throughout the three centuries of Turkish rule: from the early 17th century till 1929, the year when Italy consolidated its occupation. At the foot of the hills on which the castle is built, lies the area where a daily date market is still held today. Sokna, on the route leading to the greater Sahara desert, was visited by many European explorers in the 19th century, as they set off on their journeys into the desert. References to Al Jufrah can be found in many diaries and travel notes by these geographers, although they may not all have been fully aware of how useful their accounts would be for those who planned the political and military colonial adventures that followed.