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Libya Cruises

The vast desert kingdom of Libya stretches for nearly 700,000 square miles, and is the fourth largest country in Africa. Unsurprisingly, the coastal areas are the most populated, enjoying a slightly milder Mediterranean climate than the more arid inland environment, which can go decades without seeing any rainfall at all.

After the turmoil caused by the Arab Revolutions, the country is slowly rebuilding its tourist industry, and for the first time in decades, Westerners can experience Libya’s rich culture and fascinating ancient past.

Founded around 700 BC by the seafaring Phoenicians, the nation’s capital Tripoli has been an important centre of trade and commerce in the southern Mediterranean for centuries. It’s a city that combines the best of the Mediterranean and North Africa – quaint whitewashed houses cling to rocks lapped by crystal-clear waters, while narrow winding lanes burst suddenly into hectic, scented bazaars.

Top 5 interesting facts

  • The current Libyan flag was introduced in 2011.
  • Libya’s national dish is Couscous bil-Bosla.
  • It’s illegal to consume alcohol in Libya.
  • The Arabian Eagle is Libya’s national bird.
  • Libya’s highest point is Bikku Bitti Mountain.
 

Highlights

History

Libya has a fascinating and diverse past, largely thanks to its geography, which looks to the Middle East and continental Europe as well as Africa. The Berber tribes have inhabited the country since the Bronze Age – and it is perhaps these people who can lay claim to being the true indigenous community. Due to its strategically vital location, Libya was first colonised by Phoenician sea traders, and was then successively ruled by the Carthaginians, Persians, Egyptians and Greeks before becoming part of the Roman Empire.

National Museum

In the centre of Tripoli just off Martyrs’ Square is Libya’s National Museum, located in the city’s historic Red Fort. Recently reopened, the museum is widely agreed to be one of the best in the world, and has emerged from the revolution relatively unscathed, having lost just a cloak and a rifle. The castle itself has a fascinating history but it’s the museum that will leave you speechless. Its 47 galleries cover 5,000 years of history and contain priceless artefacts from all the great civilisations: Punic, Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Islamic and Christian.

 

Leptis Magna

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A little way along the coast east of Tripoli is Leptis Magna, the best preserved Roman city in the world. 

As a prominent Roman city in Africa, Leptis had a population of 50,000 in its heyday. Highlights include the 3,000-seat theatre, the amphitheatre, the marketplace and the Arch of Septimius Severus. Because Libya is a fledgling tourist destination you can experience the city minus the usual tourist throngs. It won’t stay this way forever so don’t miss an opportunity to see it for yourself. 

 

Ports in the country

 

Cruises visiting Libya

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