Libya is one of the largest African countries. It is located in the north of the African continent, on the Mediterranean coast. The country is focused on oil and gas production. Despite the general belief that this desert country is far from a paradise for tourists, Libya is truly a worthwhile destination for any tourist seeking to discover new wonders of the planet.
Cities and capital of Libya. What kind of country?
Tripoli is the largest city and capital of Libya, the next largest are Benghazi, Misrata, Bayda and Zawiya.
The capital was founded in ancient times, when the country was inhabited by the Phoenicians. The city of Tripoli was built on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in the 7th century BC. The city now shines with white house facades and ancient mosques. The dominant feature of the city is the Assay al Hamra Castle, with breathtaking views of the entire city and port. The local museum is also worth a visit.
The city has an international airport, a coastal highway, a university (founded in 1955) and extensive industrial and commercial activities. Tripoli, like other major cities, has a very educated population.
The city is home to the largest zoo in the country, which is a large botanical garden full of rare species of trees and plants.
More than 90% of Libya’s territory is desert, so most of the country’s population lives in the coastal cities of Tripoli and Benghazi. Approximately 88% of the country’s population lives in cities, mostly in apartments.
Additional Information! For tourists, Libya can become a beach-type holiday destination. It shares Africa’s longest border with the Mediterranean Sea, so there are plenty of places for a classic beach holiday.
History of the country
What kind of country is this – Libya? The history of the state is connected with the culture of the Phoenicians, Berbers, Greeks and Romans.
In the 7th century, the first wave of Islam entered Libya. Until the first half of the 20th century, the country was an Italian colony. For many years, Libya was a province of Italy, and after gaining independence it became a kingdom under the rule of King Idris.
Having overthrown the king, after a coup in 1969 with the support of a number of tribes inhabiting the country, Muammar Gaddafi came to power.
Gaddafi established a dictatorship. Years of dissatisfaction and struggle followed. In recent years, Libya has developed a somewhat unflattering reputation. After the civil war and the intervention of NATO troops, during the events of the so-called “Arab Spring”, in 2011, the regime of Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown. Gaddafi was overthrown and killed, and the process of changing the state system began in the country, with an orientation toward Western-style democracy. The following year, Libyan citizens took part in the first parliamentary elections in 40 years.
Geographical location of Libya
Libya is part of the so-called Maghreb region of North Africa. It covers an area of about 1,800,000 square km. and is the fourth largest African country by size.
A total of 6 countries are neighboring countries of Libya. On the eastern side is Egypt, in the west it borders with Algeria and Tunisia. The southern border is formed by the countries of Chad (Chad) and the smaller border with Niger. The southeastern border is formed by Sudan. The most developed and most populous north of the country has almost its entire northern border formed by the Mediterranean coast.
Libya is historically divided into three regions: Tripolitania (west of the country), Fezzan (southern Libya) and Cyrenaica (eastern part of the state). Life is concentrated mainly in three major cities – Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata.
Many people consider Libya to be a country of monotonous deserts and natural resources (in particular, the country has extensive oil fields).
Interesting! Libya ranks 10th in the ranking of countries with the largest oil reserves in the world. Petroleum products account for 97% of the country’s exports.
Before the development of oil fields, Libya was one of the poorest countries in Africa and did not have much prospects for economic development.
Interesting places in the country
One can perceive Lebanon as a backward country where the dominance of one man was strongly felt. On the other hand, it is an unknown paradise with natural beauty and, above all, a place full of monuments.
Libya is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. All these objects are archaeological cultural monuments, representing the remains of grandiose buildings of bygone eras. The ancient cities of Leptis Magna, Sabratha and Apollonia are on the coast. The historic desert city of Ghadames and rock art in the desert mountains of Akakusu, located in the west of the country. Each of these places is worth a separate visit and exploration.
Ghadames, a walled desert city, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This city is an old oasis in southern Libya.
Acacus – the mountains in the south of the country offer impressive landscapes created by black monumental rocks growing straight from the sand of the Sahara.
City of Leptis MagnaThe city was founded by Phoenician immigrants around 1100 BC. It is a reminder of the famous Roman times. Sand from the desert served as a preservative and preserved the remains of the buildings for today’s visitors. It is the best preserved monument of its kind in North Africa.
Almost throughout the country, you can find the remains of temples, houses, canals, original alleys left by the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans. Many sculptures and mosaic decorations have been preserved.
The desert stretches across northeast Africa, crossing Egypt and Sudan. The desert is mostly rocky, but there are also areas with magnificent sand dunes. Relaxation is provided by eight oases.
Note! The Libyan desert, which occupies most of the country’s territory, is considered one of the driest places in the world – sometimes there is no rain here for decades.
On the other hand, rains can be observed periodically in the mountainous part of the country, although they are not a frequent occurrence here either.
The entire territory of Libya has a tropical climate, only in the north it is subtropical. The Mediterranean climate along the coast is dry. Hot, dry sand and dust winds (Gibli) are relatively common (especially in spring and autumn) and usually last from 1 to 4 days, as well as sandstorms. The average temperature in the capital is 12°C in January and 26°C in August.
“Pearl of the Sahara”
Nevertheless, in the Libyan Desert there are also islands of life – oases. Some of them – in particular, Ghadames and Kufra – became the basis for entire settlements.
The ancient oasis of Ghadamis is located approximately four hundred kilometers from Tripoli on the border of three countries: Libya, Tunisia and Algeria. The history of the oasis goes back several thousand years, and life there has been preserved, despite the arid Sahara.
Ghadames arose at the crossroads of caravan routes. In the oasis city, travelers could find temporary shelter from the unbearable heat of the Sahara.
The old part of the Medina is a system of dark alleys. Thanks to a sophisticated ventilation system, the temperature in them is maintained at a pleasant level, even in the heart of the hot Sahara, and in the surrounding area they reach temperatures of 50 degrees.
The entire city is built from dried bricks, plastered white. Sometimes it resembles the typical white houses on the Greek island of Santorini. Some roofs of houses are connected to each other, so that long distances can be covered on the roofs. When leaving the city, sand dunes formed. The most beautiful and highest (up to one hundred meters) are located on the Algerian border.
If you’re in the desert, it’s worth visiting southern Libya’s Jebel Akaka. The mountains contain hundreds of prehistoric paintings of animals and scenes from the life of the local people. Cave paintings show that in ancient times people hunted and raised livestock. All this from the time when the Sahara was green.
Roughly in the center of Libya lies Sebha, a salt lake surrounded by palm trees and tall sand dunes. An exceptionally impressive place that will delight every traveler.
In the 1950s, when large oil reserves were discovered in the country, along with them, an aquifer was also found in the foothills of the Libyan desert.
Official language in Libya
The official language of Libya is modern Arabic. The Libyan dialect of this language is the main spoken language of 95% of the country’s population. Moreover, while Gaddafi ruled, the study of other foreign languages at universities was prohibited. Nevertheless, the literacy rate in the country is 89.2% (according to 2010 data).
97% of the country professes Islam. Until recently, Libya was home to one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities, dating back to around 300 BC.
Until 1965, there was a railway connection in the country, but then this industry was completely destroyed, and only now the construction of new railways has begun in Libya.
Libyan cuisine is clearly influenced by the gastronomic traditions of Egypt, Tunisia and the Mediterranean. In the north of the country, especially in Tripoli, Italian traditions predominate, while in the southern regions of the country the cuisine is predominantly Arabic. It is worth adding that pork is prohibited in the country, according to Sharia.
Traditional foods of Libyan cuisine include oranges, figs, olives and apricots, while famous Libyan dishes include couscous, shakshuka, asida, harissa and shorba.
Libya is not spoiled by mass tourism, so the local flavor and stunning landscapes are preserved here.