To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.
— Aldous Huxley, 1894 - 1963
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Libya

Background

Libya

The Italians supplanted the Ottoman Turks in the area around Tripoli in 1911 and did not relinquish their hold until 1943 when defeated in World War II. Libya then passed to UN administration and achieved independence in 1951. Following a 1969 military coup, Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI began to espouse his own political system, the Third Universal Theory. The system is a combination of socialism and Islam derived in part from tribal practices and is supposed to be implemented by the Libyan people themselves in a unique form of "direct democracy." QADHAFI has always seen himself as a revolutionary and visionary leader. He used oil funds during the 1970s and 1980s to promote his ideology outside Libya, supporting subversives and terrorists abroad to hasten the end of Marxism and capitalism. In addition, beginning in 1973, he engaged in military operations in northern Chad's Aozou Strip - to gain access to minerals and to use as a base of influence in Chadian politics - but was forced to retreat in 1987. UN sanctions in 1992 isolated QADHAFI politically following the downing of Pan AM Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. During the 1990s, QADHAFI began to rebuild his relationships with Europe. UN sanctions were suspended in April 1999 and finally lifted in September 2003 after Libya accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing. In December 2003, Libya announced that it had agreed to reveal and end its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction and to renounce terrorism. QADHAFI has made significant strides in normalizing relations with Western nations since then. He has received various Western European leaders as well as many working-level and commercial delegations, and made his first trip to Western Europe in 15 years when he traveled to Brussels in April 2004. The US rescinded Libya's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism in June 2006. In January 2008, Libya assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2008-09 term. In August 2008, the US and Libya signed a bilateral comprehensive claims settlement agreement to compensate claimants in both countries who allege injury or death at the hands of the other country, including the Lockerbie bombing, the LaBelle disco bombing, and the UTA 772 bombing. In October 2008, the US Government received $1.5 billion pursuant to the agreement to distribute to US national claimants, and as a result effectively normalized its bilateral relationship with Libya. The two countries then exchanged ambassadors for the first time since 1973 in January 2009. Libya in May 2010 was elected to its first three-year seat on the UN Human Rights Council, prompting protests from international non-governmental organizations and human rights campaigners.

About

Libya is a country in North Africa. In the north it has a Mediterranean Sea coast, with Egypt to the east and Tunisia to the west. It also has land borders with Algeria, Chad, Niger and Sudan. More than 90% of the country is desert or semidesert.

Read more about Libya in our Libya travel guide »

Featured journals from

Libya

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Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Western Sahara

Featured hotels in

Libya

LibyaRixos Al Nasr Tripoli 

Near the Guest Palace Al Khadra Hospital
Tripoli
Libya

Price (US$): $267 - $502 / night

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Location. Located in central Tripoli, Rixos Al Nasr Tripoli is near the airport and close to People's Palace, Algeria Square, and Al Fateh University. Nearby points of interest also include Karamanli Mosque and Red Castle. Hotel Features. Dining options at Rixos Al Nasr Tripoli include 2 restaurants. A swim up bar, a poolside bar, and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves a complimentary buffet breakfast. Recreational amenities include… more »

LibyaRadisson Blu Al Mahary Hotel 

Al Fatah Street
The Corniche
Tripoli 91781
Libya

Price (US$): $430 - $525 / night

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Location. Radisson Blu Al Mahary Hotel is a business friendly hotel located in central Tripoli, close to People's Palace, Algeria Square, and Jamahiriya Museum. Additional points of interest include Red Castle and Karamanli Mosque. Hotel Features. Dining options at Radisson Blu Al Mahary Hotel include 5 restaurants. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, a health club, a spa tub, a sauna,… more »

LibyaJW Marriott Hotel Tripoli 

Souk Al Talatah & Via Angelo
Tripoli
Libya

Price (US$): $272 - $477 / night

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Location. JW Marriott Hotel Tripoli is located in Tripoli, close to Gurgi Mosque, Karamanli Mosque, and Red Castle. Nearby points of interest also include Jamahiriya Museum and Algeria Square. Hotel Features. JW Marriott Hotel Tripoli features a restaurant. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, an indoor pool, and a fitness facility. There is a full service health spa on site. This 5 star property has a business center and offers a meeting/conference room. Complimentary wireless… more »

LibyaAwal Hotel Tripoli 

Meseera El Kubra St, off El Mokhtar St.
Tripoli 10.03.271
Libya

Price (US$): $135 - $136 / night

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Location. Awal Hotel Tripoli is located in central Tripoli, close to Karamanli Mosque, Red Castle, and Jamahiriya Museum. Nearby points of interest also include Gurgi Mosque and Algeria Square. Hotel Features. Awal Hotel Tripoli features a coffee shop/cafĂ©. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves a complimentary hot and cold buffet breakfast. Guests can enjoy a complimentary evening social on select days. This 4 star property offers limo/town car service and business… more »

LibyaBustan Hotel 

Serraj
Tripoli 74567
Libya

Price (US$): $649 - $974 / night

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Location. Located in Tripoli, Bustan Hotel is connected to the airport and June 11 Stadium is a local attraction. Regional points of interest also include Karamanli Mosque and People's Palace. Hotel Features. Bustan Hotel's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The hotel serves a complimentary breakfast in the restaurant. Guests can enjoy a complimentary manager's reception each day, served in the afternoons. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, a health club, and a… more »

Browse more hotels in Libya »

Libya

Full name
Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Capital
Tripolis
Location

Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Tunisia

Geographic coordinates

25 00 N, 17 00 E

Area comparative

slightly larger than Alaska

Border countries

Algeria 982 km, Chad 1,055 km, Egypt 1,115 km, Niger 354 km, Sudan 383 km, Tunisia 459 km

Coastline

1,770 km

Climate

Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior

Terrain

mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions

Lowest point

Sabkhat Ghuzayyil -47 m

Highest point

Bikku Bitti 2,267 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, gypsum

Population

6,461,454

Ethnic groups

Berber and Arab 97%, other 3% (includes Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians)

Religions

Sunni Muslim 97%, other 3%

Languages

Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities

Government type

Jamahiriya (a state of the masses) in theory, governed by the populace through local councils; in practice, an authoritarian state

Independence

24 December 1951 (from UN trusteeship)

National holiday

Revolution Day, 1 September (1969)

Chief of state

Revolutionary Leader Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI (since 1 September 1969); note - holds no official title, but is de facto chief of state

Head of government

Secretary of the General People's Committee (Prime Minister) al-Baghdadi Ali al-MAHMUDI (since 5 March 2006)

Internet country code

.ly

Internet users

353,900 (2009)

Airports

137 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Marsa al Burayqah, Ra's Lanuf, Tripoli

Other countries in the region