Heart of the sea

The third largest country in Africa, Libya is rich in history, boasts a long coastline and the Sahara desert.

Libya, in North Africa, is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea in the north, Egypt in the east, and Tunisia and Algeria in the west. There are about 140 tribes and clans and the official language is Arabic.

Libya's terrain is mostly barren, and features flat to undulating plains, plateaus and depressions. The Mediterranean coast and the Sahara Desert are the most prominent natural features.

The climate is mostly extremely dry and desert-like in nature. However, the northern regions enjoy a milder Mediterranean climate.

The Libyan Desert, which covers much of Libya, is one of the most arid and sun-baked places on earth. In some places, decades may pass without seeing any rainfall at all.

The hot, dry, dust-laden sirocco (known as the gibli) blows from one to four days in spring and autumn. There are several oases, the most important are Ghadames and Kufra.

When searching for oil in 1950, a massive aquifer underneath much of the country was also discovered. The water in this aquifer pre-dates the last ice age and the desert itself.


The cuisine has Mediterranean, North African and Berber influences. The most popular dish is bazin, an unleavened bread. Tripoli, the capital, is especially partial to Italian food and pasta is a favourite. In the south traditional Arab and Berber cuisine are favoured.


Highly influenced by Islamic traditions, Libya has a rich history of folk art and dances. The arts include weaving, embroidery, metal engraving, and leather work are dominated by geometric and arabesque designs.

The country has five UNESCO world heritage sites, three of which are classical ruins. The heritage sites include Tadrart Acacus (Acacus Mountains), Arch of Marcus Aurelius, Sabratha, Ghadamès (the pearl of the desert). The country is best known for its ancient Greek and Roman ruins, and Sahara desert landscapes.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 10:36:20 PM |

Next Story