39 Facts About Benghazi


Under Italian rule, Benghazi witnessed a period of extensive development and modernization, particularly in the second half of the 1930s.

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On 19 March 2011, the city was the site of the turning point of the Libyan Civil War, when the Libyan Army attempted to score a decisive victory against the NTC by attacking Benghazi, but was forced back by local resistance and intervention from the French Air Force authorized by UNSC Resolution 1973 to protect civilians, allowing the rebellion to continue.

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Benghazi remains a centre of Libyan commerce, industry, transport and culture.

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Ancient Greek city that existed within the modern day boundaries of Benghazi was founded around 525 BC; at the time, it was called Euesperides and Hesperis.

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Benghazi later became a Roman city and greatly prospered for 600 years.

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Benghazi had a strategic port location, one that was too useful to be ignored by the Ottomans.

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Benghazi population was made up of more than 35 per cent of Italians in 1939.

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Benghazi grew to be a modern city with a new airport, new railway station, new seaplane station, an enlarged port and many facilities.

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Benghazi was going to be connected in 1940 by a new railway to Tripoli, but in summer of that year war started between Italians and British and infrastructure development came to a standstill.

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Benghazi lost its capital status when the Free Officers under the leadership of Muammar Gaddafi staged a coup d'etat in 1969, whereafter all government institutions were concentrated in Tripoli, Even though King Idris was forced into exile and the monarchy abolished, support for the Senussi dynasty remained strong in Cyrenaica.

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In February 2011, peaceful protests erupted in Benghazi that were brutally suppressed by Gaddafi's armed forces and loyalists.

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On 19 May 2012, residents of Benghazi voted in historic local elections; this was the first time such elections have been held in the city since the 1960s, and turnout was high.

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Benghazi Baladiyat is divided into 32 Basic People's Congress administrative divisions, in which the responsibilities of the corresponding political units of the same name fall.

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The people of eastern Libya, Benghazi included, have in the past always been of predominantly Arab descent.

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Overwhelming majority of Libyans in Benghazi were of Berber descent until the arrival of Bani Salim.

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In modern times, Benghazi has seen a lot of Libyans from different parts of the country move into the city, especially since the Kingdom era.

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The conservative Islamic nature of Benghazi creates a strong sense of family life in the city – practically all teenagers and young adults live at home until they get married.

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Many Muslims in Benghazi adhere to the traditional Maliki school of religious law, however much less so than in decades past.

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The Roman Catholic Apostolic Vicariate of Benghazi's Franciscan Church of the Immaculate Conception serves Benghazi's Latin Catholic community of roughly 4, 000; there is a decommissioned cathedral church.

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Benghazi is one of the sub-regions of the area referred to as Cyrenaica, the others being the Jebel Akhdar and the coastal plain running east of Apollonia.

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The soil in Benghazi is a rich red colour and very clayey.

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Benghazi has a warm semi-arid climate with hot and dry, prolonged summers and mild to cool, slightly wet winters.

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Summers in Benghazi are hot and rainless, but with high levels of humidity.

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Finance is important to the city's economy, with the Libyan Bank of Commerce and Development maintaining branches in Benghazi; the Bank's headquarters is a high office tower on Gamal Abdel Nasser Street in el-Berka.

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Benghazi is a transport hub in Eastern Libya and is an important city on the northern coastal road that crosses the country.

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Benghazi port is a vital terminal for the region, and allows for the import and export of national and international goods and food products.

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Generally, the city is roughly divided into the following areas: Central Benghazi – includes the medina, and the old quarter, Central Districts which circle the downtown – Al-Sabri, Sidi Abayd, Sidi Hsayn, Al-Berka, Al-Salmani, Al-Hadaa'ik, Al-Fuwayhat and Al-Keesh, Central Suburbs – Al-Laythi, Bu Atni, Al-Quwarsha, Al-Hawari, Coastal Districts – Al-Kwayfiya (North), Garyounis, Bu-Fakhra and Jarrutha (South), and the Distant Suburbs – Gimeenis, Benina and Sidi Khalifa.

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Central Benghazi is where the majority of Benghazi's historical monuments are located, and has the city's most popular tourist attractions.

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Benghazi is one of the cultural centres of Libya and is a base for tourists, visitors and academics in the region.

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Largest Ottoman architectural monument in Benghazi is the late 19th-century Ottoman palace in El-Berka; built during the rule of Rashid Pasha II.

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Benghazi came under Italian rule in the early part of the 20th century.

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Under the governorships of Generals Ernesto Mombelli and Attilio Teruzzi in the 1920s, the buildings commissioned in Benghazi had an eclectic architectural language that embodied a Western conception of Eastern architecture.

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Benghazi was heavily bombed during World War II, and so the majority of buildings in the city are examples of modern or contemporary architecture.

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The highest building in Benghazi is the Tibesti Hotel on Gamal Abdel Nasser Street built in 1989.

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Benghazi is the second largest city in Libya, and as such, has some of the best sports facilities in the country.

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Benghazi has hosted many national sports events throughout the years, as well as more significant international competitions such as the African Cup of Nations.

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The 'Martyrs of Benghazi's Riding Club' boasts a number of female members who, at least until 2016, engaged in sportive competition.

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Benghazi is a coastal city, and its beaches are an important location for sporting activities.

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Benghazi is home to many distinctive dishes that can be prepared at home.

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