Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Benghazi is the second largest city of Libya. It is an important commercial and administrative centre and serves as Eastern Libya main port. It has a population of around 600,000. Its old open market, the Fundug, sells fresh vegetables and local produce and has the flavor and atmosphere typical of any market in the Arab countries. Its old covered souk alleyways in the old part of the city are very original. To the visitor “There might not be much more happening in Benghazi, but there is activity to watch, or, even join.”
But what of Benghazi of old?
Benghazi was first founded as an early settlement in about 446 BCE as Euesperides by the Greeks who came from Cyrene and settled here on the coastal plain.
In the third century Euesperides was refounded under the patronage of Berenike or Berenice, the wife of Ptolemy III Euergetes (Ruler of Egypt), who was also the daughter of Magas, King of Cyrene, and thus given its new name Berenice.
Berenice was one of the five Greek cities of Cyrenaica (Pentapolis).
The city superseded Cyrene and Barca as the chief center of Cyrenaica after the 3rd century CE and during the Persian attacks until the Arabs came in 643.
It was lost again in history until the small settlement became an important player in the trade growing up between Genoese merchants and the tribes of the hinterland. In the 16th century maps, the name of Marsa ibn Ghazi appears.
It was said that Ben Ghazi was a holy man who lived there during the latter part of the 16th century, and gave his name to the town in 1579.
Little to be said about Benghazi during the Turkish era more than being a fort used as a centre for tax-collecting,
In 1911, Benghazi was invaded by Italians and the whole population of Cyrenaica suffered oppression as about 125,000 of Libyans were forced into concentration camps, about two-thirds of whom perished. Nevertheless, history will remember Omar Mukhtar resistance written in pages of glory.
During Second World War Benghazi was the scene of heavy bombing raids and changed hands, between the Italians and Germans from one side and the British of the other side, five times during the period. It was badly damaged that little of the city remained standing. And it was rebuilt slowly again during the fifties, and with the discovery of oil in the area around Sirte basin in 1959, the city again grew in importance and prosperity.
On the first of September, 1969, the First Declaration of The Revolution was broadcasted from Benghazi radio station by the Leader himself.
But what of Benghazi of Today?


oummLeen said...

dea gheriane , thank u for this and all the info about benghazi , i am from benghazi but i do nto know somethings of what u wrote , so i will use this if any one here in Canada ask me about Benghazi ....
keep on blogging

Omar Gheriani said...

Thank the colors of life and you're welcome.

BeSHeSHeNtRa... said...

cool informations ..i wish that benghazi is still named BERENICE ..i liked the name lol ..well done gheriane ..thnx :-)
and by the way , why did u named ur blog as abughilan?!!!..

Anglo-Libyan said...

I was born in Benghazi then moved to Tripoli with my family when I was young then I came to UK when I was a teenager.
Thanks for the information.

Omar Gheriani said...

dear beshe...well, why abughilan? One day I'll tell the story. and anglolibyan, Benghazi changed a lot twenty years ago and then it was canned in the freeze!