If you collect stamps, Libya was the place to be. If not, it was a nice souvenir to bring back home. In Tripoli we went to the postoffice to buy the ' total eclipse at Great Jamahiriya 29.3.2006' stamps. In the postoffice they showed you a big map with all the Libyan stamps they have for sale.
The most striking were the ones with the political themes like American agression, the anniversary of the 1th september revolution or Gadhafi price for human rights, but also of the total solar eclips and the great man made river. There are also series of local customs, clothes, shoes, flowers, animals. Name it and they are there.
In the big hall of the postoffice some of the stamps were exhibited at the walls. If you would like to have an impression of the variety of Libyan stamps, you could have a quick look in the hall.
After the collaps of Khadaffi's regime in summer 2011 the stamps will become rare and collectors items. I suppose they are probably not anymore at display in the postoffice and hard to get anymore.
What to buy: Stamps
In Benghazi the Sharia Omar al-Mukhtar is the main shopping street with lots of shops. When I visited Benghazi in 2006 there were not many shops with local craft, but we found a African Art Shop in the main shopping street.
Here they had an amazing collection of nice things. Cupper, leather, jewellery, fur, books, postcards. The shopkeeper was sitting at a small balcony drinking tea or coffee and overlooking the shop.
What to buy: It was the first place where I found postcards in Benghazi. Lots of cupperwork, jewellery and leather bags. Not only Libyan, but from more places of the continent.
As so many shops in touristic areas, sights, cities, hotels, they distribute mainly imported handcrafts and general souvenirs "Made in Tunesia"
In the souks of Tripoli you can buy some gold jewelry, relativaly cheap. Some shops accept Master Card or Visa
What to buy: Whatever you are interested in to put it on yr souvenir desk
What to pay: Cash or rarely Visa or master Card
The environment is unique - the desert/Oases (Picture taken by my friend Frank)
What to buy: Touareg jewelry - Silver - no gold.
Tuareg women have a superstitious fear of gold and will not wear it. Silver has thus taken its place in the tuareg traditions. Silver jewelry is part of every Tuareg family estate. It has both symbolic and real value, serving also as savings and for (foreign) exchange.
Every jewel is a message and contains sometimes forgotten symbols.
Every necklace worn by a Tuareg woman tells stories of her people, her city. (text from the net and comment by the local guide)
What to pay: No ATM - so cash
Fergiani bookshop !!! THE bookshop, located in a famous shopping street in Libya.
I wrote "THE" because there is not much to find about Libya in our european bookshops (yet)
- Recently : Generaly books about Libya - Lonely planet and Domenicus
What to buy: This rather small bookshop has an excellent choice of Arabic, English, Italian and French written books.
An extensive choice of city maps, desert maps, excellent postcards, fascinating travel literature (eg about the Touaregs)
What to pay: Cash
The only place we had the opportunity to buy some souvenirs was in Ghat , there were some (3)Touaregs who sold some "silver" bracelets for 10 dollar.It was just marvelous to travel without the souvenir-boys running and yelling after you like in Egypt or Morocco
What to buy: Silver bracelets ?
What to pay: Prices/ quality : OK
Situated about 2 hour's drive south of Tripoli, Gharyan is known for two things - its troglodyte houses (closed for Eid when I was there) and its pottery, sold from the shops and stalls that line the Triploi/Gharyan road and most definitely open for business every day. Stall after stall along the road displays a huge stock and variety of household pottery of every description from huge bowls (not perhaps the easiest thing to fit in a suitcase), platters, tagines, jugs and ewers, lidded jars and casseroles, sets of bowls and plates ... you name it, you'll find it somewhere.
What to buy: Pottery's not my idea of the ideal thing to buy when travelling but it's hard to resist these - there is just so much to choose from. I didn't succumb, but MrL had been there before me and had - and he did choose wisely. I have some lovely wide, shallow bowls that I use a lot and two panels of tiles that I've had mounted on felt-backed wood - they make perfect hot plate stands for the table and they're in use every single day.
What to pay: Panels of 6 tiles will cost you no more than 5-10LD, and apart from really big pieces or sets of bowls, you'll find 10LD is enough to buy yourself something nice.
All along the road from Tripoli to Leptis Magna you'll find small fresh fruit and vegetable stands - some selling a variety of produce, others with just whatever is in seasonal abundance - beautiful oranges when we were there in December, other fruit at different times of the year and, always melons in late summer. They're a great place to stop and pick up some fresh fruit to take along with you for a snack at Leptis - the food options there are restricted to the site restaurant and a couple of small teahouses.
There are also lots of honey stalls, the golden honey glowing in its jars in the sunlight. It's delicious, but it's not really cheap (about 10LD a kilo) and you need to be aware that you may not be allowed to take it into your home country - honey is a strictly banned import in many places around the world. You might like to try the date juice (tarbuni) instead - this could be a foodie-fad to rival the pomegranate juice that seems to have become one of the foodies' favourites of late - it's delicious.
At the suqs you can buy almost anything you desire, at a very good price. I bought a set of two Indian cotton sheets with two matching pillow cases, for less than $10.
Wandering around the Tripoli suq on my own, I did not feel the least bit threatened or uncomfortable. The people smiled and waved, but did not try the pushy sales techniques sometimes employed in other Mediterranean countries.
The best place to buy Touareg-silver is at the Ubari Lakes. Every lake has his "own" touaregs who are selling the jewelry. They know what to ask and they ask to much so a little bargaining isn't a bad idea.........
What to pay: If you really like it it will never be too much....
Unique and colorful are the slippers which you can buy only in Ghadames. Handmade for centuries by the Jeddar family. The own a shop one block north of the museum. I paid 45 LD for mine, not cheap but a very beautiful souvenir I think.
The best place for shopping is the medina in Tripoli. Clothes, jewelry and all you need are there waiting for you. You won't find that much souvenirs but one of the nicest things to buy is a Colonel Gaddafi-watch (less than 20 LD)
The cheapest place to buy a Green Book is in a shop at the Leptis Magna-site (3,5 LD)
An other area to shop in Tripoli is the Sharia ar-Rashidmarket. It's one of the only places where you have to keep an eye on your bags, more than you already do.......
Meseera El Kubra Street, Off Omar El Mokhtar Street, Tripoli, 10000, Libya
Good for: Solo
When our KLM flight was cancelled on 21 Feb 2011 we were put in the Corinthia Bab Africa Hotel, and...more
Al Fatah Street - The Corniche, Tripoli, Libya
Good for: Business
More Regions in Libya