Libyana is an amazing website dedicated to Libyan culture. It is a labor of love by a group of Libyans who wish to share their culture with the world. The Libyana website has three sections related to different areas of Libyan land and culture. They are Land, People, and Art. The Land section consists of a Geography section with a large selection of maps in English and Arabic. This includes maps showing historical events of note – such as a map showing the path of the crusaders through Libya and surrounding countries and a map showing the locations of Stone Age carvings. There is also a section called Cities with pictures of both modern cities and remnants of historical cities. This section also includes photos of the countryside and the desert areas of Southern Libya. The final part of the Land section is related to the history of Libya which is provided in several formats – a time line, a multimedia poetry presentation, and a history as shown in postage stamps.
The second section of the site is called People. This section includes paintings and historical photographs and profiles of featured Libyans. The profiles are of people of note who would not be well known to foreigners – for instance, Khadijah M. A. al-Jahmi, a pioneer in women's and children's rights and education. It also includes a section on Libyan food with photos and recipes. The recipes look really yummy, especially the deserts! I will definitely be trying them.
The third section of the site is about Art. It includes visual arts, crafts, music, and poetry. The visual arts section includes a variety of paintings by a number of different artists with different styles. The craft section includes beautiful photos of amazing shoes, jewelry, and other crafts, as well as a few photos of craft shops. The music section contains a virtual jukebox of all sorts of Libyan music. The poetry in the poetry section is almost exclusively in Arabic, but some of the poems include background or summaries in English, recorded readings, or illustrations.
The fourth section of the site is titled Contact and includes a number of more interactive options. There is a Java-based chat section, a discussion forum, a Java-based game, and an email contact link. Unfortunately, the Java-based game and chat didn't work for me, but this lack – as well as the few broken links in the site – did not take away from my enjoyment of the site. I really enjoyed Libyana and will be back for further exploration. With it's images, sounds, tastes (well assuming you actually make the recipes), Libyana is the next best thing to a visit to Libya.
The Libyana website can be found at www.libyana.org
The image in this article is an art print of Lake Om-el-ma, Libya by Francis Tack. It is available for purchase from AllPosters.com