Libya is a land of thousands of delightful surprises that lay hidden amidst the desert sand dunes and ruins of Roman Empire. Sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches, towering mountain ranges, vast desert dotted with magnificent oasis and Berber villages amidst enchanting ‘casbah’ are some of the breathtaking beauties of this fabulous African nation. Libya has played host in many historical turning points and the monuments, fortresses, writings, drawings and engravings on caves remain as testimony of the eventful and rich heritage of the nation. From the ports of Tripoli, Sabratah to remote desert destinations of desert, including Ghadames, Zuwaylah and Fezzan, this timeless land is famous for its unblemished hospitality. Libya stretches along the northeast part of the African continent with the Mediterranean Sea bordering it on the north. The country shares it borders with Tunisia and Algeria on the west, Egypt on the east, Sudan on the southeast and Chad and Niger to the south. Tripoli is the capital of Libya and its largest city. Benghazi, Misratah, Sirte and Sabha are the other important urban addresses of the country.
Spread over an area of 1,760,000 square kilometres, Libya is broadly categorised under three traditional sections: Tripolitania, the Fezzan and Cyrenaica. Geographically, the 1,800 kilometres long coastline of the Mediterranean Sea on the north and the vast expanse of the Sahara Desert are the predominant feature of the country. The northern part of Libya is a low-lying coastal plain that supports tourism to some extent. Several highlands and not-so-high mountain ranges appear near the Chadian border. In the central part of the country, a pastoral zone of sparse grassland exists that ultimately gives way to the Sahara desert. Oasis is a regular feature in this country. The Mediterranean region also nestles a narrow upland plateau and coastal oases alternate with sandy areas and lagoons. The climate of Libya varies with its topographical features. It starts off with a soothing Mediterranean weather conditions on the northern coastal areas that gradually becomes hotter on its journey down south towards the Sahara. Summers are generally very hot but humidity level remains low.
Libya is being governed under the military dictatorship of Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi for the last four decades. The nation started off with its enriching past with Berbers being the original inhabitants of the land. From seventh century B.C. onwards the land was swept by invaders that included Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, and Byzantines. Each race and dynasty left behind impressive structures and urban constructions that are still viewed in cities of Leptis Magna, Sabratha and Tripoli. The series of domination over Libyan territories continued with the Arabs, who brought Islam with them, Spanish and Italians. After the two World wars, the provinces of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica went under British administration, while the French controlled Fezzan territories. Libya declared its independence on December 24, 1951 and on September 1, 1969, Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi deposed the king and established a new system in the country that still goes on.
Libya is a military regime that professes to have a government in which the people rule directly.
The highest and supreme power of the nation vested in the revolutionary leader, Muammar al-Qaddafi. He is considered the chief of state. The unicameral General People's Congress is the top governmental body, which comprises of members elected indirectly through a hierarchy of people's committees. The head of government is the secretary of the General People's Congress.
Libyan boasts of a healthy economy that survives and prospers on its big reserves of petroleum and natural gas. The financial structure of the country has survived the difficult days of UN implemented sanctions and moving towards liberalisation.