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Arch in the Desert

  • Libya is a country in North Africa, that borders Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Niger, Sudan, and Tunisia, along with the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The country consists of more than 90% desert/semi-desert.
  • The population of Libya is 97% Sunni Muslim.
  • The main language in Libya is Arabic, however, English and Italian, are generally understood in the major cities.
  • The country is made up of 1.1 million square Km of land with a population of 6.42 million.


  • The coastal plains of the country now known as Libya were once occupied by the Berbers, a group of Neolithic peoples who domesticated cattle, and cultivated crops, around 8000 BCE
  • The area was also occupied by many other nations, most notably, the Greeks, The Persian Empire, and the Roman Empire.
  • Libya was known as “Italian North Africa” between 1912- 1927, as it was split into two Italian colonies, Italian Cyrenaica, and Italian Tripolitania.
  • 150,000 Italians settled in Libya in this time (roughly 1/5 the population at the time)
  • The name “Libya” was given to the country in 1934.
  • The Libyan resistance was led between World War I and World War II, by the first and only king of Libya, King Idris
  • During World War II, Britain took control of Libya, and through the Treaty of Peace with Italy on February 10th 1947, Italy renounced its claims to Libya.
  • Muammar Abu Minyar Al-Gaddafi (who was a captain in the military at the time) led a coup d’état against King Idris, on September 1st 1969.
  • The now Colonel Gaddafi presides over the government in Libya.


    • The most common beverage in Libya is tea. Green and Red tea is typically sweetened and served nearly everywhere.
    • The first and only king of Libya, Idris, was overthrown without bloodshed in a coup d’état lead by Muammar Al-Gaddafi, known as the ‘Leader of the Revolution’.
    • A common occurrence in Libya is a southern wind that lasts one to four days long in the spring and autumn months
    • The Great Man-made River Project (GMRP), the largest project of its kind, is being built to deliver fresh water to countries in the Sahara, including Libya.
    • 75% of food in Libya is imported
    • Libya trades mainly with: Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, and the UK
    • Libya’s incumbent Prime Minister is Dr. Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmudi
    • Oil reserves discovered in 1959 have made the once very poor Libya, a very wealthy country, per capita.
    • Of the approximately 6.42 million Libyans, 323,000 had internet access in 2009.

Avg. Costs

Amphitheatre Sabratha

  • Public transport in Libya is limited to taxis and buses, and is very cheap. For example, a taxi ride from Tripoli to its suburbs is LYD 6-7; a bus ride is LYD 1-2.
  • There are kebab/shawarma kiosks all over Libya, where you can eat for LYD 4.
  • There are also plenty of fastfood outlets, where one can get a decent meal for around LYD 5.
  • A starter plus main course for 2 in a good restaurant will set you back LYD 40-60.
  • Soft drinks are about LYD 0.50
  • A cup of coffee or tea is between LYD 0.50 and LYD 2.

Click here to see The Economist’s Big Mac Index. It is arguably the world’s most accurate financial indicator to be based on a fast-food item.


Information is coming soon.


Lake in the Desert

  • Rural roads are unmarked, creating a high risk for accidents, and are especially not safe at night, as many cars do not have proper head lights.
  • Speeding is common, and in fact the main cause of death in Libya.
  • Camels cross roads at night and can be very dangerous. However for an extra charge, some cars may be rented or purchased with “camel sensing” radar.
  • Off road driving can be difficult, as it is easy to lose sense of direction in dunes areas, because of the high horizon.
  • NEVER speak negatively about the Libyan government, as it is a crime to do so in the country.

Click here to see Canadian Government Travel Reports and Warnings on Travel Reports offer information on safety and security, local laws and customs, entry requirements, health conditions and other important travel issues.


Palm Trees in Desert

  • Libya consists of Mediterranean and Saharan climates
  • Hot, dry summers and mild winters in the coastal lowland
  • Cooler weather with frost in the highlands
  • Very hot summers in the desert, with cool nights
  • Rain is scarce

Required Clothing:

  • Long, loose clothing, and warmer clothing for nights in the desert
  • Conservative clothing is highly recommended for women (arms, legs, shoulders, and cleavage should be covered)
  • A headscarf is required to visit mosques

Places to See

White Tower

Archaeological site of Cyrene

  • Discovered in the 1870s, Cyrene was one of the main cities in the Hellenic Period
  • A former Greek colony that was Romanized, remaining a major capital until destroyed by an earthquake in 356.

View Map




Archaeological site of Leptis Magna

  • Part of the Roman Empire, and one of the most exquisite and embellished cities
  • Monuments, harbor, marketplace, and residential areas
  • Ruled over by Septimius Serverus, who was responsible for making it such a beautiful city.




Archaeological site of Sabratha

  • An ancient trading post for Phoenicia
  • Part of the Numidian Kingdom of Massinissa, which was Romanized between the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE.




  • A.K.A. “The Pearl of the Desert”.
  • An oasis, and is one of the oldest pre-Saharan cities.
  • Excellent example of traditional lifestyle and culture.
  • Interesting architecture with underground passageways.

View Map




Tadrart Acacus

  • Bordering Tassili N’Ajier, a World Heritage site in Algeria.
  • Thousands of cave paintings, dating between 12000 BCE to 100 CE

View Map


Communication Etiquette:
• Greetings are very enthusiastic
• Handshakes will be long
– A man must wait for a women to extend his hand
– Maintain direct eye contact
• Bring sweet pastries if invited to the home of a Libyan
• Being late isn’t always seen as rude
– Check if you should remove shoes at front door
– Eat only with the right hand

Business Etiquette:
• Handshake is commonly used in business
– At the beginning and end of meetings
– Titles are important
• They prefer to do business with people they know and respect
– Expect time taken to develop the relationship
• Have your business cards translated into Arabic
– It will be greatly appreciated
• Appointments are necessary and should be made well in advance
– Arrive on time but be prepared to wait
– They have an open door policy during meetings
– Expect many interruptions
– Arabic is generally the language they use for business
• Companies are run in a hierarchy
– Highest ranking person will make the decision
– Only after obtaining a group consensus
• Do not criticize in public
• Do not use high pressure tactics as they will work against you

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