Where is Libya located?

What countries border Libya?

Libya Facts and Culture

What is Libya famous for?

  • Family: Most Libyans live in the coastal cities. Most are Arabs or of mixed Arab and Berber ancestry. In western Libya,... More
  • Fashion: In the cities Western and traditional clothing are seen. Girls wear bright colored dresses, and boys wear jeans and shirts.... More
  • Recreation: Soccer is the most popular sport in Libya. Libyans race horses or compete in chariot races. “Fantasias”, displays of special... More
  • Cultural Attributes: Libyans value courtesy. It is considered rude to criticize another person directly or to discuss family matters in public. When... More
  • Diet: The cuisine of Libya has been influenced by Arabic, Mediterranean and Italian cooking. Lamb, chicken, beef, beans, nuts, dried apricots,... More

Libya Facts

What is the capital of Libya?

Capital Tripoli (Tarabulus)
Government Type in transition
Currency Lybian Dinar (LYD)
Total Area 679,358 Square Miles
1,759,540 Square Kilometers
Location Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria
Language Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities
GDP - real growth rate -6.1%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $15,100.00 (USD)

Libya Demographics

What is the population of Libya?

Ethnic Groups Berber and Arab 97%, Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, Tunisians
Nationality Adjective Libyan
Nationality Noun Libyan(s)
Population 6,890,535
Population - note note: immigrants make up just over 12% of the total population, according to UN data
Population Growth Rate 4.85%
Population in Major Urban Areas TRIPOLI (capital) 1.127 million
Predominant Language Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities
Urban Population 77.7%

Libya Government

What type of government does Libya have?

  • Executive Branch: chief of state: Chairman, Presidential Council, Fayiz al-SARAJ (since December 2015) head of government: Prime Minister Fayiz al-SARAJ (since December 2015) cabinet:... More
  • Suffrage: 18 years of age, universal More
  • Citizenship: citizenship by birth: no citizenship by descent only: at least one parent or grandparent must be a citizen of Libya dual citizenship... More
  • National Holiday: Liberation Day, 23 October (2011) More
  • Constitution: previous 1951, 1977; latest 2011 (interim); note - the Constitution Drafting Assembly continued drafting a new constitution as of late... More
  • Independence: 24 December 1951 (from UN trusteeship) More

Libya Geography

What environmental issues does Libya have?

  • Climate: Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior More
  • Border Countries: Algeria 982 km, Chad 1,055 km, Egypt 1,115 km, Niger 354 km, Sudan 383 km, Tunisia 459 km More
  • Environment - Current Issues: desertification; very limited natural fresh water resources; the Great Manmade River Project, the largest water development scheme in the world,... More
  • Environment - International Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution,... More
  • Terrain: mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions More

Libya Economy

How big is the Libya economy?

Libya News & Current Events

What current events are happening in Libya?
Source: Google News

Interesting Libya Facts

What unique things can you discover about Libya?

  • Camels are well adapted to life in the desert. Their large feet are flat on the bottom, so they do not sink into the sand. They have flat nostrils that keep sand out of their noses and long, thick eyelashes that keep sand out of their eyes. They store fat in humps on their backs.
  • Chess has a long history in the Islamic world. Phrases used in chess come from the Arabic language. "Checkmate" comes from the words shah mat, which mean "The king is dead."
  • Herbal medicine is popular in Libya. Hakims are traditional healers who use natural herbs to treat a variety of ailments.
  • In North Africa, languages are classified as Semitic or Hamitic. Semitic languages include Hebrew and Arabic. The speakers of these languages are believed to be descendants of Shem, the eldest son of Noah. Hamitic languages include Egyptian and Berber. The speakers of these languages are believed to be descendants of Ham, Noah's second son.
  • Khadijah al-Jahmi became Libya's first female radio broadcaster in 1955. In 1966, she started a woman's magazine and later, a magazine for children. She also founded an organization that supported the arts for children. She died in 1996 and is remembered as a great contributor to Libyan culture.
  • Libya has many important Roman archaeological sites, including Leptis Magna, one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the Mediterranean. More than 200 Roman wells have also been discovered in Libya. These still provide water, as they did two millennia ago.
  • Libya has religious schools called madressahs. Only boys attend these schools. Classes take place after normal school hours. Boys sit in a circle and listen to their teacher read aloud from the Qur'an. They study the words and learn to recite many of the passages.
  • Muammar al-Qaddafi was considered the founder of the modern state of Libya. He assumed the leadership of the country in 1969. In 1977 Qaddafi renamed the country "The Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya." The term Jamahiriya, created by Qaddafi, means a republic of the masses.
  • Muslim holidays are based on the lunar calendar. There are 354 days in a lunar year and each month begins with the new moon. As a result, the holidays do not fall on the same day each year according to the calendar used in Canada.
  • Souks (outdoor marketplaces) are found in all Libyan cities. Farmers bring their produce, merchants sell spices, clothing and carpets, and craftspeople sell jewellery, baskets and leatherwork from small shops that line the narrow lanes of the souks.
  • Tea and coffee are very popular in Libya. Libyan tea is a combination of green tea and mint leaves. People drink it hot or cold, with plenty of sugar. Libyan coffee is thick, black and very sweet and is served in small cups.
  • The name Libya once referred to all of the lands of Africa, not just the area of North Africa now known as Libya. The Egyptians were the first to call the rest of Africa (that is, the lands that were not part of Egypt) Libya.
  • The palm tree thrives in Libya's extreme climate. Found near the sea or by desert oases, it can survive intense heat and frost. Nomads use the trunk for fuel and for making rope, and weave the leaves into sandals and baskets.
  • Traditional North African homes were built according to a standard pattern. Rooms were all on one floor and grouped around an open-air courtyard. Often there was a pool or fountain in the courtyard. Today, most Libyans in cities live in apartment buildings.
  • Woman are the musicians among the Tuareg people. They play the anzad (a kind of violin with one string) and drums made from gourds and wooden bowls. They use the drums to call people together for feasts.
  • The hottest spot on the planet is Al Aziziya, in the Sahara desert where a temperature of over 136°F has been recorded.
  • When a child loses a tooth they throw their tooth to the sun and say
    "Bring me a new tooth."
    They say they have a bright smile because their teeth came from the sun.

Watch video on Libya

What can you learn about Libya in this video?

Libya Guide YouTube, Expoza Travel

Libya Travel Information

What makes Libya a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

Libya witnessed a popular uprising against the regime of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi that lasted from February to October 2011 and included fighting throughout the country. Libyans cast ballots July 7, 2012 in elections deemed to be free and fair according to election observers. Libya’s General National Congress replaced the Transitional National Council in August 2012 and will lead the country until elections are held on the basis of a new constitution. Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation of the country's customs, laws, and practices. On September 11-12, 2012, armed extremists attacked the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, killing four U.S. government personnel, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

Due to the current security situation, the ability of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in Libya is extremely limited, especially outside of Tripoli.

Crime

Crime levels in Libya are rising. There have been increased reports of armed robbery, carjacking, burglary, and crimes involving weapons. The Libyan police and internal security institutions have not fully reconstituted themselves since the revolution. Thousands of criminals who were released from prisons by the former regime or who escaped following the revolution remain at large. Hundreds of thousands of small arms looted from government storage facilities are now in the hands of the local population, contributing to the rise in violent crime.

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Libya, you are subject to Libyan laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be very different from our own. You may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. It is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings, especially military and government facilities. Driving under the influence can result in immediate detention. There are also some things that might be legal in Libya, but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Libya, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not before you go.

Persons violating Libyan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Libya are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Alcohol is also prohibited in Libya, and possessing, using, or trafficking in alcohol can carry severe penalties. Libyan customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning the introduction into Libya or removal from Libya of firearms, religious materials, antiquities, medications, and currency. The importation and consumption of alcohol, pornography, and pork products are illegal in Libya. Please see our Customs information.

While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the U.S. embassy as soon as you are arrested or detained.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

While some health care providers have been trained in the United States or Europe, basic modern medical care and/or medicines may not be available in Libya. Many Libyan citizens prefer to be treated outside Libya for serious medical conditions.

Safety and Security

The security situation in Libya remains unpredictable. U.S. citizens traveling to or remaining in Libya should use caution and limit nonessential travel. While in Libya, make contingency emergency plans and maintain security awareness at all times.

Recent worldwide terrorism alerts, including the Department of State’s Worldwide Caution, have stated that extremist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East region, including Libya. Any U.S. citizen who travels to Libya should maintain a strong security posture by being aware of surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, and varying times and routes for all required travel.

Terrorist incidents have occurred recently in Libya. On September 11, 2012, a group attacked the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi resulting in the deaths of four U.S. government personnel, including the Ambassador. There have been several recent attacks on diplomatic embassies, offices and vehicles, as well as against Libyan government officials and private Libyan citizens, though many of these attacks have also been the result of criminality and lawlessness. Since the February 2011 revolution, thousands of anti-aircraft missiles are still unaccounted for in Libya and extremist groups may use them against aircraft, including commercial flights.

Various militias have supplanted the police in maintaining internal security. Militia members operate checkpoints within and between major cities. Libyan militia members are poorly trained and may be unaffiliated with the interim government, which has not yet fully reconstituted the national army and police. The Embassy receives frequent reports of clashes between rival militias and occasional reports of killings and vigilante revenge killings. Militia groups sometimes detain travelers for arbitrary or unclear reasons, without access to a lawyer or legal process. Carry proof of citizenship and valid immigration status at all times. The Embassy has extremely limited capacity to assist U.S. citizens who are detained by militia groups.

Public demonstrations occur frequently in Libya in the central squares of cities, such as Martyrs’ Square in Tripoli and Freedom Square in Benghazi. Exercise caution in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations, as even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Avoid all demonstrations and take cover if you hear celebratory gunfire.

If travel in desert and border regions of Libya is critically necessary, exercise caution and comply with local regulations. Terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, continue to threaten the region. Recent terrorist attacks have occurred in the border region, and extremists have kidnapped Westerners in the border regions.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Libya is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Driving in Libya can be hazardous, and there is a high accident rate. Enforcement of traffic laws is rare. As a result, it is often difficult to anticipate the actions of other drivers on Libyan streets and highways. Wind-blown sand can reduce visibility without warning. Road conditions are poor, and limited public transportation is poor. Taxis are available, but many taxi drivers are reckless and untrained. English-speaking drivers areextremely rare. The sidewalks in urban areas are often in bad condition and cluttered, but pedestrians are able to use them.

Paved roads in rural areas are satisfactory; however, many rural roads are unpaved. Major highways along the seacoast and leading south merge into single-lane highways once they are outside major cities. These roads are heavily trafficked and can be precarious to navigate, especially at night and during the winter rainy season. The presence of sand deposits, as well as domestic and wild animals that frequently cross these highways and rural roads, makes them even more hazardous.

The availability of roadside assistance is extremely limited and offered only in Arabic. In urban areas and near the outskirts of major cities there is a greater possibility of assistance by police and emergency ambulance services, although emergency care providers are usually ill-equipped to deal with serious injuries or accidents. Very few streets are marked or have signage, and highway signs are normally available only in Arabic.

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