Quick Facts About Libya - The Arid But Oil-rich Country

Quick Facts About Libya
Abundantly oil-rich, truly a desert land, and vying to be politically correct, Libya has much more to offer than what meets the eye.
Vacayholics Staff
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Did You Know?
The volcanic field of Waw an Namus in the Fezzan region is an upcoming local tourist destination. The field has three salt lakes of varying colors, which contribute to the site's popularity.
Libya is located in northern Africa, and is predominantly divided into three parts: Tripolitania, Fezzan, and Cyrenaica. While most people consider this nation nothing more than a barren land, the rest know the riches it holds. Libya was conquered for a very long time by Italy, and for a little time by the Allies. After liberation, it came under the rule of King Idris and finally, until recently, under the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi. Since the past few years, it is going through political and administrative upheavals and reconstruction.
Capital city of Tripoli
Libya is officially called the State of Libya, and is globally the 17th largest nation. Tripoli is the capital and also the largest city.
The country is mostly a desert land. Due to this, a large part of the population lives in the coastal cities of Tripoli and Benghazi.
Roughly 88% of the population lives in urban areas, mostly in apartments. Largest cities in Libya in descending order are Tripoli, Benghazi, Misrata, Bayda, and Zawiya.
Libya ranks 10th among countries that have the largest oil reserves; in the sector of petroleum production, it globally ranks 17th.
Libyan Desert
The Libyan desert, which we know covers most of Libya, is considered one of the most arid places on the globe. Sometimes, the region doesn't witness rain for decades.
In the highlands, one may witness some rainfall. However, that too happens once in every 5 to 10 years. The highest point in the country, Eastern Uweinat, witnessed its last rainfall in September 1998. This was as of 2006.
Oases of Ghandames
In the Libyan desert, there are quite a few scattered oases. In some cases, like in Ghadames and Kufra, settlements are formed around the oases.
In 2011, after a civil war of global prominence and after military intervention by NATO, the citizens of Libya overthrew Muammar Gaddafi's rule. This war also resulted in his death.
The next year, in 2012, the citizens of Libya voted in parliamentary elections for the first time in 40 years on 7th July.
The oil sector has dominated the Libyan economy and continues to do so. 97% of exports are accounted for by this sector.
Along with the discovery of huge quantities of oil and pertroleum in 1950s, an aquifer (a water-bearing permeable rock from which humans obtain groundwater) was unearthed. It is known to contain water dating before the formation of Sahara desert, and even before the last of the ice ages.
Modern Standard Arabic is the country's official language. The Libyan dialect of this language is spoken by 95% of the citizens. Till the time the country was under dictatorship, teaching any foreign language, in any academic institution, was forbidden. However, the literacy rate among adults stands at 89.2% as of 2010.
97% of the population associates with the faith of Islam. Until recently, Libya was home to one of the oldest Jewish communities globally. It is said that it dated back to approximately 300 BC.
Though various lines have been said to exist in the past, since 1965, there have been no railway services in Libya; construction and development continues to remain in progress.
Pivot Irrigation in Libya
Libya is also known for using extensive center-pivot irrigation techniques. A circular area that surrounds the pivot is irrigated, resulting in circles of crops. The aerial view would look like that in the image below.
Libyan cuisine is influenced basically from Egyptian, Tunisian, and Mediterranean traditions. Cuisine is the north, especially around Tripoli, is influenced highly by Italian traditions, while that in the southern areas is traditionally Arab. Consumption of pork is forbidden under Sharia law.
Couscous is a Berber dish comprising semolina
Oranges, figs, dates, olives, and apricots are common vegetables and fruits. Shorba Arabiya is particularly famous in Libya. Couscous, Shakshouka, Asida, and Harissa are other famous dishes served in Libya.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Libya
As of 2013, Libya is home to five World Heritage Sites. All these properties are listed as cultural sites. They show us magnificent constructions from an era that is now lost.
Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus- Libya
Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus
Archaeological Site of Sabratha- Libya
Archaeological Site of Sabratha
Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna- Libya
Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna
Old Town of Ghadames- Libya
Old Town of Ghadamès
Archaeological Site of Cyrene - Libya
Archaeological Site of Cyrene
Libya is a fascinating country for many reasons, a few of which have been mentioned above. Whether it sees a continuous growth or more political disturbances, only time will tell.