The second largest city of Libya, Benghazi functions as a power rival of the capital city Tripoli.
The second largest city of Libya, Benghazi functions as a powerful rival of the capital city Tripoli. Benghazi is the second largest city in Libya. It has played an active part in the political arena of the country since its inception.
During the kingdom era, the city held the status of joint capital with Tripoli. It still holds important political meetings and organizations associated with the capital city. This clash of status has constituted an air of animosity between the two cities.
The name of the city was taken from a pious benefactor of the city namely ghazi. Ghazi means warrior and invader in Arabic. The city was named Bani Ghazi and then finally Benghazi which means a thousand veterans in the Turkish language.
Benghazi has witnessed diverse cultures due to invasions by Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Ottomans, and Italians. Benghazi also played an important part in World War II. After the wide-scale destruction during Second World War, the city was rebuilt with the help of newfound oil wealth.
After the formation of the Independent Kingdom of Libya, the city lost its status of Capital and Tripoli was formed as the country’s capital.
Benghazi lies on the coast of the Mediterranean and experiences a warm semi-arid climate. The northern parts of the city side with the Mediterranean while desert climate is prevalent in the north side of the city. Summer is long, hot, and dry meanwhile winter is mild.
The city experiences very low rainfall throughout the year usually not more than 268mm. Greenery and trees are scarce in the city. Public parks and recreational areas of the city are green zones. The most famous park is al-Bosco which was built during the Italian era.
It houses a number of animals like elephants, birds, wild cats, and many others. This park is full of trees and was turned into a theme park by adding electric rides during1980’s. The park attracts local people during holidays as well as on working days.
Other famous green parks are 23rd of July Park and Al-Buduzira. Al-Buduzira Park is the largest park in the city with added facility of water slides and a natural lake. It is very popular during summer, especially among teenagers.
The city is the economic, industrial, and commercial hub of the country. The port of the city is important as a source of imports and exports in the country. The main manufacturers of the city include textiles, cement, salt, and processed food.
The main industry of the city is however the Oil industry. Many national companies like Arabian Gulf Oil and others have their offices in the city. The city also houses international franchises like Nike and H&M. Libyan Bank of Commerce and Central Bank of Libya also maintain their branches in the city.
Education in Benghazi is free and compulsory like in the rest of Libya. The oldest university in the country The University of Libya resides in the city.
Many primaries, secondary, and some private schools are scattered throughout the city in good numbers. The city also houses the country’s largest library.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nancy Suzan