Libya - geography
The country can be divided geographically into four zones: Jabal Nafusa
(mountains) and Jafaras plain, both to the west in Tripolitania, the mountains
Jabal al-Akhdar to the east in Cyrenaica and finally the Sahara plateau with the
desert to the south, Fezzan. Jafara forms the fertile northwest corner of the
country with the capital Tripoli and the majority of the population. Nafusa is a
rocky and desert-like transition zone between the Gulf of Sidra, the Tunisian
border and the Sahara. The Sahara itself covers 90% of the country and includes
very large and quite impassable "sand garden" with dune formations in large
format. Jabal al-Akhdar, the Green Mountains, is one of the few places
where rainfall is sufficient for agriculture. A total of only 1 1/2%
of Libya's area cultivated; 8% is laid out for grazing, while only very small
areas are forested. Both agricultural and forest areas are being expanded
through state-funded projects.
The climate is warm everywhere. In the central desert regions, some of the
world's highest air temperatures have been recorded; at Aziza in September 1922
measured 57.7 °C, a measurement whose reliability as the world's highest air
temperature, however, in 2012 was overruled by the World Meteorological
Organization (see Death Valley). The coastal signs have a Mediterranean
climate with hot summers, mild winters and winter rains. When the warm, dry al-qibli wind
blows from time to time from the south, the temperature at the coast can quickly
rise to 40-50 °, while the humidity can drop from 80 to 10%. In the highest
mountain areas and certain places on the coast, the annual precipitation is up
to 400 mm, and it decreases to the south. In many places, droughts lasting
several years are common.
There are no permanent streams in Libya, but large, dry river valleys, wadis,
are a widespread element of the landscape. They fill up during rain showers, but
dry out quickly again. However, the subsoil contains large groundwater
reservoirs, and the many oases are irrigated by springs and wells. Under the
Sahara, there are large reserves of fossil water from the more humid climate of
the past, and a very ambitious project is utilizing this water in the Great
Man-Made River.This, the world's largest water extraction project and one
of the largest civil engineering projects ever, was started in the early 1980's
and brings fresh water to households and agriculture in the densely populated
areas of the coast. Two pipelines of 1700 and 1800 km have been established,
which carry water from two areas deep in the Sahara to respectively. Benghazi
and Tripoli area.
The population claims to be descended from nomadic tribes who immigrated
from the Arabian Peninsula in the 1000's. In reality, it is rather an
assimilation of the Arab Bedouin tribes with the predominantly permanent Berbers,
who already lived in the area. Most Europeans and Libyan Jews left the country
more or less voluntarily after the revolution, but there are still small groups
of Christians left. There are also descendants of black slaves and in the
southern oases small groups of Tuaregs. In addition, there is a large
but variable number of guest workers from neighboring countries.
Do you know how many people there are in Libya? Check this site to see
population pyramid and resident density about this country.
The population is young; approximately one third are under 15 years of age; almost 90%
live in cities. Population growth has declined in recent years and now stands at
2.6% (2006). Thanks to oil revenues, it has been possible to carry out extensive
expansions and improvements of both education, healthcare and the social system.
Resources and professions
Production and exports of crude oil (and to a lesser extent natural gas)
account for about a quarter of GDP and are dominant in the foreign economy, but
the sector employs only a small part of the labor force. The first oil fields
were discovered in 1956, and the most important oil fields are located in the
central northern part of the country. Other fields are located at Ghadamès near
the border with Algeria and at Murzuq and al-Kufra to the south. Offshore oil
and gas fields are under development in the border area with the Gulf of
Both the oil sector and the economy in general are state-run, but the system
is changing. In the 1990's, a large part of the retail sector was privatized. One
problem is the lack of skilled labor, and a large part of the workforce is
foreigners. From time to time, guest workers are expelled when it is
economically or politically convenient.
Agriculture employs an estimated one-fifth of the workforce, but Libya is not
self-sufficient in basic food. The government gives high priority to reducing
imports, and agriculture is supported in many ways. Only 10% of the arable land
is irrigated; on the other lands, production fluctuates from year to year with
the amount of precipitation, and the hectare yields are often very low. Among
the crops are cereals (including barley as winter seed), olives, almonds and
citrus fruits. Vines can be seen on the mountain slopes, and in the southern
oases there are large date groves. Animal husbandry, especially sheep and goats,
is most important on the coastal plain.
Industrial development has been limited in scope and is concentrated in
Tripoli and Benghazi. These are mainly agricultural-related companies,
predominantly state-owned. The oil refineries in Tripoli and the Gulf of Sidra
have a petrochemical industry.
The main highway runs along the coast, from Tunisia to Egypt. Other highways
connect the coast's larger cities with oases and oil fields. The country has no
functioning railways since the existing lines were closed in the 1960's. Seven
railway lines totaling 2757 km are under construction; they are expected to be
completed in 2008. Tripoli and Benghazi are the largest port cities, but oil is
also shipped from a number of other ports. Libya's largest international airport
is in Tripoli.
Libya - language
In Libya, Libyan Arabic is spoken, which consists predominantly of Bedouin
dialects of Maghreb Arabic. Arabic has gradually supplanted Berber since the
600's, but there are still Berber languages such as Nefusi, Ghadamsi and
Tuareg. Official language is standard Arabic, which is mainly used in writing.
Libya - religion
Ca. 98% of Libya's population are Sunni Muslims, while the rest belong to
Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church and the Coptic
Church. Islamic law plays a central role in the country's family law
relationship, regardless of whether the political leadership has a critical view
of the Prophet's custom, sunna. The official ideology maintains that
the Qur'an should be the starting point for the country's legislation. It
happens with the help of the country's supreme mufti, who institutionally
guarantees that the country's legislation is in accordance with the Qur'an.