Local traditions and culture in Libya

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  • Local Customs
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  • Local Customs
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Most Viewed Local Customs in Libya

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    Hammam tradition

    by Luchonda Updated Nov 30, 2007

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    Traditional bathhouses in N.Africa, so also in Libya.
    There are at least three in the medina of Tripoli, male or female users have different opening hours, tourists can have a look inside after permission of the guardian, and accordingly the sex (wow!)
    - Al - Heygha
    - Al - Kebira
    - Draghut
    Charges are 1 LD for a steam bath, 2 LD for a massage and 5 LD for a total full scrubbing work. Very cheap and a tradition in this countries, but so different from the tradition in the northern part of Europe.
    BTW : Once i had a total full scrubbing work in Istanbul/Turkey. I ran away when i saw the "masseur", my daughter Kim enjoyed it !

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    A door reflecting symbolic signs

    by Luchonda Updated Nov 5, 2007

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    The doors in the islamic world has often a symbolic value or sign
    Picture 1 : My husband went to mecca, this picture was taken in Ghadames, small leather circle naps in the color of Ghadames City ( red yellow and green)
    Picture 2 : Knock one time, this is a man, knock three times, it will be a female.
    Sence : The lady of the house can take precautions to hide her face in case it is a male visitor.

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    Islamic tradition

    by Luchonda Written Nov 5, 2007

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    Islamic tradition and rule - no alcoholic drinks !
    In the meanwhile i've been to some Arabic countries, from the west to the east, not mentioning the name.
    In many of this islamic countries you can have an alcoholic drink, but as far as i know, NOT in Libya or in Saudi Arabia- forget it.
    Nevertheless i pictured this bottle of 5%A Beck's beer brewed in Italy, and became suspicious.
    At the end i was satisfied, as it seems that the bottle was more than probaly jumped by an italian group, routing and transit in their 4wd car, searching for another adventure in the desert.

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    Ghadames - Date harvest

    by Luchonda Written Nov 4, 2007

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    During my stay in Ghadames (end of october) the inhabitants were preparing the famous "Date harvest festival" Many people are visiting the market place next to the Mosque
    in the new town.
    We had the occasion to see the dancers preparing their show. The music is special.
    Pitty the performers didn't wear the traditional cloths.

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    Modern women clothes

    by Luchonda Written Nov 3, 2007

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    Culture guidance : I was a little bit surprised to see so many shops in Tripoli and Benghazi selling nice and modern women clothes. Bought by woman entering the shop in traditional islamic clothes (head shawl). The guide told us : women in Libya pleases their husband behind closed doors. I accept this tradition, in islamic countries

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    Daily on the menu

    by Luchonda Updated Nov 2, 2007

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    Eating in Libya, definately not a culinary trip
    Daily, sometimes twice
    - A so called "Libyan soup" (Spicy tomatosoup with local vegtables)
    - Bread in different tastes
    - Water 'a volonté' and a soft drink for free. NA drinks to be paid (Becks beer 2LD)
    - An entrance of local vegtables
    - Most of the time Couscous with chicken, fresh fish, lamb or camel meat
    - Mint tea

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    Always a "security officer" on board

    by Luchonda Written Nov 2, 2007

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    The third man. (We called him Orson Welles - A security officer of the regime)
    It is a Libyan custom to appoint a so called security officer accompanying the group of tourists
    from the beginning of the tour till the end. On the bus, in the hotels, on all sites
    He rarely speaks english - but at the end, he is oké

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    Berber cloaks and Tuareg turbans

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Oct 4, 2006

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    All over Tripolitania, in the centre of Tripoli as much as in the small villages of the Jebel Nafusa, you will see men, young and old, wrapped toga-like in thick white woollen blankets. Handwoven - usually by a mother or a wife - they measure some two and a half metres, and they will last a lifetime. Warm in winter, supposedly cool in summer - they are as distinctively a Berber tradition as the face-veiling turban of the Tuareg of the desert.
    The Tuareg turban, 9 metres or more of fine cotton, wound around and around the head and brought across the bottom of the face - the Tuareg are the only men in the world to go veiled - is more likely these days to be made of fabric imported from China or India ( or, as I noticed printed on the edge as a man rewound his turban , Thailand) than the traditional indigo-dyed cloth that stained the faces blue - that's the global economy for you, and blue denim often replaces flowing embroidered robes on all but high days and holidays but there are still men who dress traditionally, Berber or Tuareg.

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    Home from the Haj

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Feb 7, 2006

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    Walking through the old town in Ghadames, every now and then you will pass a door decorated with small red, green and gold rosettes. This is a local tradition that marks the occupier's completion of the Haj. Some are old and faded - others bright and new indicating a recent journey.

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    • Desert

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    Ghat

    by inesbonheiden Updated Jan 27, 2006

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    Ghat is a little village "with INTERNET" near the border in the south , there are a lot of people from Tsjaad, Niger, Senegal, Soudan.They work there.I like them, they are so friendly and innocent...
    We came there late in the evening and they didn't have food enough,so I could go with them in the kitchen and they shared with us.It was a wonderfull expirience.

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    Shwarma

    by grets Written May 1, 2005

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    I don't know whether this is a Lebanese custome imported to Libya or the other way round, but we saw many little shops/restaurants selling Shwarmas all thoughout Libya.

    Meat (usually chicken) is cut into chunks and formed onto a pole and then cooked vertically by heating elements behind the meat.

    The meat is then carved in thin slices and placed inside a pitta or other bread and served with salad and sauces.

    Very nice indeed!

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    Sheesha

    by grets Written Apr 11, 2005

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    Not being one to pass an opportunity by, I decided to order a sheesha at the street café in Tripoli. I have previously tried one in Damascus in Syria, and really enjoyed the apple tobacco. However, no-one spoke enough English here to try and explain that, or maybe they just didn't have it - in any case, I ended up with normal tobacco and a heavy smoker's cough. Being an ex-smoker, I can't say I it was anything like smoking cigarettes, but it did give you a slight feeling of light-headedness.

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    Sheep

    by grets Written Apr 11, 2005

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    Libya is one of the top countries in the world where sheep outnumber people. Everywhere you go, you will see a herd of sheep alongside the road, and sometimes, as here, crossing the road. Naturally, lamb is the main feature on the menu.

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    Green Tea

    by grets Written Mar 13, 2005

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    The local drink of choice is the green or mint tea. Usually served with masses of sugar, it can be very refreshing! It will be automatically brought to your table at the end of your meal at most reataurants. It is always served in small clear glass cups such as this one.

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    Gaddafi

    by grets Written Mar 13, 2005

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    All over Libya, huge posters showing pictures of their beloved leader, Coronel Gaddafi are found. This particular one was in the lobby of our hotel, and was at least six feet high.

    I do not wish to discuss politics here, so if you wish to find out more about Gaddafi, check out the link below.

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