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Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Total population (millions): 5.7 
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 87% (4 911 559 inhabitants)
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: 2%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km˛) : 1 759 540  

Population origin

Berbers and Arabs (97%).

Main Cities Population
Tripoli 911 643
Benghazi 685 367

Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Tripoli (GMT+2 ).

 Arabic (official language), English, Italian.

Free translation tools

Free English-Arabic-English translation of text and web pages.

Religious practises : Sunni Muslims (97% of the population)

Political context

Libya (official name: Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) is a Jamahiriya (a state of the masses) in theory but in reality governed by military dictatorship.
The Revolutionary Leader Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI is the de facto chief of the state, although he holds no official title. He enjoys all the executive powers. The head of the government is called Secretary of the General People's Committee (equivalent to council of ministers) and is elected by the country's parliament, and have no fixed term period as long as he enjoys the confidence of the parliament. Parliament also selects the members of the General People's Committee.
The legislature is unicameral in Libya. The parliament consists of General People's Congress (GPC). Its members are elected representatives (called secretariats) of around 600 local bodies called ‘basic popular congresses', and serve a term of four years. Only the Revolutionary Leader has the power to dissolve the parliament or veto its enactment . The people of Libya have very limited political rights.
The judiciary is not independent in Libya. Security forces have the power to pass sentence without a trial and political trials are held in secret. The main source of the law is the constitution of 1 969 (amended in March 1977). The country's legal system is based on Italian civil law system and Islamic law. Libya has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. Arabic is the judicial language in the country, having an interpreter is possible.
Libya is not ruled by law. Foreign nationals cannot expect an impartial trial from the country's judicial system. A high degree of corruption exists in the country, especially in politics and police force.

Major political parties

Political parties are banned in Libya since 1971. However establishment of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has been allowed but these need to work under strict government control.

Major political leaders

Revolutionary Leader: Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI (since September 1969, gained power through a military coup)
Secretary of the General People's Committee (Prime Minister): Al-Baghdadi Ali al-MAHMUDI (since March 2006)

Next political election dates

General People's Congress (GPC): Dates not announced




The Libyan climate is Mediterranean in the north and desert in the south. In Tripoli, the average temperature is 12° in January and 26° in July.



Number of visitors in Libya 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 149 .. ..
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005


Tourist sites
Libya contains the remains of several Greek and Roman cities, some of which are classified by UNESCO. They are:
- the Greco-Roman site of Leptis Magna in Tripoli.
- the Sabratha amphitheatre,
- the ruins of Shabbat
- the Fezzan rock paintings

For more information about tourism in Libya , check out the following web site(s) :
Tourism office in Libya


Traditional dishes
Libyan cooking is influenced by Italian and Arab cuisine. The basic ingredients of Libyan cooking are lamb, chicken, beef, nuts, dry apricots, figs and unleavened bread. The most popular dishes are "shakshouka" (pieces of lamb and vegetables in tomato sauce with an egg on top) and couscous.

Food-related taboos
The Muslim religion partly regulates the dietary customs of the Libyans and, in this respect, alcohol and pork are prohibited.

Last modified on December 2006

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