Libya is the 7th largest country in the world. It is located along the northeast coast of Africa, wedged between Tunisia and Algeria (to the west), Egypt (to the east) and Sudan, Chad and Niger (to the south). Much of Libya is situated within the Sahara. Inland and along the Mediterranean coast, land is cultivable. The climate in Libya is hot and dry in the summer, and mild in the winter. In cool months like January, the temperature ranges from 7ºC to 17ºC; in the peak of the summer, the mercury rises to between 20ºC and 25ºC. In the desert, the days are hot and the nights chilly. The areas bordering Chad, Southern Egypt and Sudan are the only humid areas in this country.
Libya is famed for its beautiful architecture, which includes the ancient ruins of Cyrene, part of its rich Greco-Roman heritage. On this site, the magnificent Temple of Zeus is more sizeable than the Parthenon in Athens! Libya is known for its desert, but some areas, such as Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountain) are verdant and tranquil. The biggest city in Libya is its capital, Tripoli. Ensconced on the border of the vast Libyan desert, Tripoli is a hub of business and boasts many luxury hotels and excellent dining establishments. If you visit Tripoli, make sure to catch the Jamahiriya Museum, which boasts 47 galleries paying homage to Libya’s rich history. The Red Castle (Assaraya al-Hamra), meanwhile, houses an array of Ottoman statues. Once a royal residence, the Castle is testimony to this country’s past wealth. Finally, Libya is known for its substantial oil reserves; oil accounts for approximately 97 per cent of its exports.
Some of the greatest ancient civilisations have settled in Libya, including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, and Romans. The stunning ruins that remain are testimony to this rich past. Most of the people living in Libya converted to Islam in the 7th century A.D., following the Arabian conquest of the land. Libya also formed part of the Ottoman Empire, in the 16th century. In the early 19th century, this country would be colonised by Italy. In 1951, Libya achieved its independence, crowning King Idris the first ever King of the new constitutional monarchy. After the discovery of substantial oil reserves in Libya, Mu’ammar Qadhafi led a rebellion and ruled the country until he passed away in 2011.
Libyan plant life is sparse, though desert oases are home to date palms, olive trees and orange trees. Wild pistachio and shrubs are visible in the Jabal Nafusah Plateau. Some of Libya’s most studied flora include alfalfa grass, tamarinds, and fig trees. Libya is home to a very small forest area, where fragrant junipers abound. Elegant birds such as the eagle and hawk soar into the skies, and many other bird species make their way through the Sahara during their migration routes. Libya’s most notable animal used to be the dromedary camel, though numbers are dwindling. Additional animals include the porcupine, gazelle, and wildcat.
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