Libya Facts: 35 Interesting Facts About Libya

Last updated on March 19th, 2020


21. The majority of the Libyan population lives in its coastal area cities. Traditional tribal society life is the norm in the Berber villages of western Libya. In the south, you will find the Bedouins, including the Tuaregs.

22. Libyan people traditionally lived in extended families. Today many young couples get their own place instead of living with the husband’s family. The couples even choose their own mates, particularly those who live in the cities. In rural areas, traditional arranged marriages still occur.

23. The Berbers identify themselves with their village or tribe before their country.

24. All the desert tribes collectively are known as the Bedouins. They lead nomadic lives, moving with their livestock or settling in farming villages in oases. The Tuaregs were the original desert traders who transported goods by camels across the desert. With robes dyed with indigo, they are sometimes called the Blue People.

25. Libya’s national language is Arabic but the people also speak Italian and English.

Flag of Libya

Flag of Libya
Flag of Libya. Image credit – CIA

Libyan cultural facts

26. Libyans are warm and welcoming people. When greeting another, they shake hands and maintain the handshake as long as the verbal greeting is on-going. Men shake with men, but wait for women to initiate a handshake from woman to man.

27. Libyans greet one another with “Salaam aleikum: (Peace be with you.) or “Sabbahakum Allah bi’l-khair” (May Allah give you a good morning.). They also ask a set of formal ritual questions about their families and health.

28. Libya is an Islamic country so women still wear the Hijab to cover their head according to Islamic law. Many women, though, especially in the cities, no longer wear public veils and dress in western style dresses and clothing. So do men. Traditional men and women still wear their traditional robes.

29. Popular sports are soccer, chariot races, and camel racing.

30. Saving face is important to Libyans, who are non-confrontational. They avoid disagreeing or saying no.

Cuisine and Dining

31. The biggest meal of the day for Libyan families is lunch and it is of great symbolic importance. Businesses, shops, and schools close for several hours so families may gather together to eat.

32. The people drink green tea after they eat to aid digestion. Tea and coffee are favorite beverages. Libyan tea is thick and like black syrup.

33. The cuisine of Libya is a mixture of Mediterranean, African and Italian influences. Common ingredients include dates, olives, fruits, lamb, chicken, milk, and grains, particularly couscous. Stuffed sweet peppers appear in many meals. The proper use of spices is important to achieve the right mix of popular flavors.

Libyan Food (meat kafta with onion)
Libyan Food (meat kafta with onion)

34. All meats eaten by Libyans must be halal. This means the animal was killed humanely and prayed over ritually according to Muslim customs.

35. Food is eaten with three fingers on the right hand. The left is considered unclean. Good manners dictate you leave a little food on your plate to indicate that your host is a gracious and generous provider.

Libya – country at a glance

Capital CityTripoli
(32°52′N 13°11′E)
Largest CityTripoli
(32°52′N 13°11′E)
Total area1,759,540 sq km
Population7,137,931 (2022 est.)
Official LanguageArabic
Suffrage18 years of age, universal
Literacy rate91%
Government typeProvisional government
Prime MinisterAbdul Hamid Dbeibeh
Land bordersAlgeria, Chad, Egypt, Niger, Sudan, and Tunisia
CurrencyLibyan dinar (LYD)
Life expectancy at birth77.18 years (2022)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
ClimateMediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior
Terrainmostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions
Mean elevation423 m
Lowest pointSabkhat Ghuzayyil -47 m
Highest pointBikku Bitti 2,267 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas, gypsum
Agricultural land8.8%
Industriespetroleum, petrochemicals, aluminum, iron and steel, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, cement
Exports$29.96 billion (2018 est.)
crude petroleum, natural gas, gold, refined petroleum, scrap iron (2019)
Imports$18.85 billion (2018 est.)
refined petroleum, cars, broadcasting equipment, cigarettes, jewelry (2019)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$10,300 (2020 est.)
Independence24 December 1951 (from UN trusteeship)
National anthem"Libya, Libya, Libya"
National symbolstar and crescent, hawk
National colorsred, black, green
National holidayLiberation Day, 23 October (2011)
Birth rate21.56 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)
Death rate3.5 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Sex ratio1.04 male(s)/female (2022 est.)
Internet country
Time ZoneEET (UTC+2)
Calling Code+218
Drives on theRight
Table last updatedAugust 12, 2022