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Libya, or the State of Libya, is a country located in Maghreb region of North Africa.
Libya is surrounded by Egypt to the east, Chad to the South, Algeria to the West, and the Mediterranean sea to the North. It also has Niger to the southwest region, and Tunisia to the Northwest.
Libya shares its maritime boundary with Turkey, Greece, and Malta. The capital of Libya is Tripoli which is also the largest city situated in western Libya. With a total area of 700,000 sq mi (1.8 million sq km), it is the fourth largest African country with Algeria on top followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. Libya is also the World’s 16th largest country and possesses the world’s 10th largest oil reserve. The official language of Libya is Arabic however, other languages like Libyan Arabic, Berber, Tamasheq, English, and Teda are also spoken in major cities. Libya is an Islamic country, with 97% of its population being Islamic, while 2.7% are Christian and o.3% belong to other religions. Libya is also acknowledged for its three historical regions namely Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan.
Currently, Libya is rules by the Government of National Unity, which is a provisional government formed in 2021 to help resolve division and conflict within the country. The outbreak of the first civil war followed by the second civil war changed the course of history for Libya. Unfortunately, unrest is still prevalent in Libya, with ongoing conflict.
To know more intriguing facts about Libya such as its history, culture, economy, and more, read on!
The history of Libya can be traced back to 8000 BC, that's 10,000 years ago! Libya has seen significant changes in the people and civilizations that have lived there throughout the course of history.
The Neolithic people inhabited Libya around 8000 BC and the Berbers, an ethnic group originating in northern Africa, appeared during the late Bronze age. The ancient Greeks captured the region in 630 BC, leading to the establishment of prominent Greek cities and culture over the following 200 years. During that time the area came to be known as Cyrenaica. However, the Persian army took over Cyrenaica in 525 BC and for the next two centuries, Cyrenaica was under the rule of Persians. Alexander the Great arrived in Cyrenaica in 331 and Eastern Libya went back under Greek rule. The last Greek emperor, Ptolemy Apion, handed down Cyrenaica to Rome, and the area later formed a Roman province. The decline of the Roman Emperor was followed by the Vandals and then the Muslim invasions occurred for multiple decades, bringing Libya under the Umayyad Caliph of Damascus, the first Muslim Dynasty. Subsequently, Libya was under the Ottoman Empire and ruled an extensive segment of Eastern Europe and the Middle East as well. The region of the Ottoman empire prevailed until Italy invaded the region in 1911 as the Ottoman empire was collapsing. Libya got its independence in 1951 but the conflict and shifting power unfortunately didn’t end here. Libyan civil war broke out in 2011 between the armed forces of Muammar Gaddafi and his opponents. Gaddafi was eventually removed and killed with the help of foreign military intervention. However, the country was left in crisis, and armed groups and political instability resulted in civil war breaking out again in 2014. Libya is still experiencing unrest and a humanitarian crisis, and its people are calling for peace and stability.
The climate and weather in Libya is arid and extremely hot which is evident from the presence of the Libyan desert, which is part of the much greater Sahara Desert.
The climate of Libya is dominated by the heat of the Sahara, however, the coastal regions are also greatly influences by the Mediterranean Sea, where cooler climate can be found. The summer is completely under the impact of the desert while from October the wind predominantly coming from the west brings in cyclonic storms that are accompanied by rain. The coast region of Libya can be described as cool and rainy during the winter while the summers are hot and dry.
The Libyan economy hangs on the revenues that are generated from the oil industry. Petroleum itself accounts for 95% of export earnings.
Towards the commencement of the 20th-century natural resources such as natural gas and oil accounted for 3/4 of the national income. When Libya was under Gaddafi the government would exercise firm control on the economy of Libya. The growth rate of GDP in 2010 was 100.6% but it then contracted to 62.1% in 2011 and again bounced back to 104.5% in 2012. In 2017 the GDP growth was 26.7% followed by 7.9% in 2018, 5.5% in 2019 and -58.7% in 2020.
The culture of Libya is very much influenced by its varied history. From the Berbers to the Arabs, Libya’s culture is a diverse mix.
Libyan cuisines are largely inspired by the Italian, Arabic, and Mediterranean cultures. This is evident from the use of dates, palm oils, olives, and unleavened bread in much of Libyan cooking. However, being an Islamic nation any type of halal meat or pork is prohibited. Libya has various types of Arab music like Andalusi and the Tuareg people have their folk music where the musicians are women. Some unique musical instruments of Libya comprises the flute, tambourine, darbuka, and zokra and the two most popular musicians are Mohamed Hassan and Ahmed Fakroun.
You may have read about Libya before but did you know these facts about Libya?
The highest mountain peak of Libya is Bikku Bitti which is commonly referred to as Bette Peak. It is 7434 ft (2266 m) and is located close to the Chadian border in Southern Libya.
Libya possesses five UNESCO World heritage sites. One of these is Cyrene, an ancient Roman and Greek city that is situated near the present-day Shahhat. Cyrene gave Eastern Libya the name Cyrenaica, which is still used today.
The most fascinating characteristic of the Libyan desert is that it does not receive rainfall for decades. It mostly comprises the northern and eastern regions of the Sahara Desert.
Souks are traditional outdoor marketplaces that can be found in all Libyan cities.
The first female broadcaster of Libya was Khadijah al-Jahmi who later launched a woman’s magazine followed by a children's magazine. After she died in 1996, she was noted for her contribution to the Libyan culture.
The longest-serving non-royal leader of Libya was Muammar Gaddafi, he ruled for 42 years. Muammar Gaddafi is also depicted as a dictator.
From 1911-to 1942, Libya was an Italian colony and as a result there was no Libyan flag.
According to a survey, the Tripoli population is approximately 3 million.
In November 1949, the United Nations resolution ordered for a sovereign state establishment of Libya by January 1952.
Q: What are five interesting facts about Libya?
A: The five interesting facts about Libya are:
The largest city of Libya is its capital city Tripoli which covers an area of 582 sq mi (1507 sq km).
Like many African countries, football is loved by people in Libya.
King Idris I, the only King that Libya had, was not only the last monarch but also a religious leader.
Libya cannot produce enough food locally due to extreme climate and poor soil, thus 75%-80% of food is imported from outside.
Libyan tea is very thick as it is made from a huge quantity of tea leaves and high sugar. This results in a black syrup and is accompanied by Khobza and Sumak.
Q: What is Libya best known for?
A: Libya has some extraordinary sites to explore, including five UNESCO Word Heritage Sites. It has ruins of both the Roman Empire and the Ancient Greeks in the cities of Leptis Magna and Sabratha. It is known for its capital city Tripoli which is also referred to as the ‘White Bride of the Mediterranean. The extraordinary landscapes such as the rocky coast and the Sahara desert are some of the aspects that Libya is best known for.
Q: Who is ruling Libya now?
A: Libya has an interim government and currently the Prime Minister of Libya is Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh. He is a businessman and a politician who was appointed as the Prime Minister on February 5, 2021, through the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum. The Chairman of the Presidential Council is Mohamed al-Menfi, the Vice Chairman of the Presidential council is Musa Al-Koni and the Speaker of the House of Representatives is Aguila Saleh Issa.
Q: What is Libya famous for?
A: Besides its history and landmarks, Libya is famous for the Sahara Desert which is World’s third-largest desert. Libya is also famous for its oil reserves and a major part of Libya’s economy depends on the oil reserves.
Q: What language is spoken in Libya?
A: The official language of Libya is Arabic, but other languages are also spoken such as Berber, English, Italian, and Tamasheq.
Q: What was Libya called in the Bible?
A: The name for Ancient Libya in the bible is Put or Phut. Put happens to be the third son of Ham who was one of the sons of Noah according to Genesis 10:6, Chronicles 1:8.
Q: Is Libya safe for tourists?
A: The intriguing landscapes, monuments, ruins of the ancient city, Sahara dessert, and much more are enough to attract tourists in Libya. However, Libya is not currently safe for tourists due to the ongoing civil unrest.
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