Welcome to Bayda, a hidden gem in eastern Libya. With a population of 250,000 people, Bayda is the 4th-largest city in Libya and the capital city of the Jabal al Akhdar district. Bayda is a commercial and industrial city that is famous for its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and mouthwatering local cuisine. Join us as we uncover the many treasures of Bayda and reveal why this enchanting destination should be on every traveler’s bucket list.
Bayda’s history stretches back to classical antiquity, when it was known as Balagrae. The 2000-year-old ruins of the ancient Greek colony of Cyrene are located nearby in Shahat. One of the greatest attractions in the city is the tomb of a famous companion (sahabah) of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, Ruwaifi bin Thabit al-Ansari. For that reason, the city was known as Sidi Rafaa after him. After the arrival of Muhammad ibn Ali as-Senussi in the area in the 19th century, and the construction of a zāwiyah, the city was renamed az-Zāwiyat al-Bayḍāʾ.
The city is famous for the valleys and forests nearby, which are not found in the other cities of the Green Mountains—Akhdar Mountains. It is named the Green Mountains because they are covered by dense forests and woodlands, of which the best known are the Hamri, Alpellnj, and Belaid forests. The highest point in the Akhdar Mountains is around 850 metres (2,790 ft), located in the Hamri area. The Akhdar mountain range lies within the Mediterranean dry woodlands and steppe ecoregion. The region has many native plants closely related to those found in similar Greek, Italian, and Spanish coastal mountains and forests. There are about 1,800 species of Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub trees, plants, and flowers. The forests are characterized by many species of oak, juniper, pine, carob, cypress, hawthorn, Luffa aegyptiaca, and olives. There is a network of natural springs in most parts of the mountains, which makes them one of the most fertile areas of coastal Maghreb. The forested areas and springs provide habitat supportive of a diversity of birds and wildlife. The Akhdar Mountains are part of the larger Jabal al Akhdar Plateau, an area of 15,000 square kilometres (5,800 sq mi), with a length of 200 km (120 mi) from the Albakur in the west to the Valley of Bef to the east of Derna, and a width of 75 km (47 mi).
Bayda is one of the major cities in eastern Libya, and one of its major economic centers. It is also the industrial and commercial center in Libya. The major manufactured goods include food products, fertilizers and agricultural products, food processing, and imported goods, and produce from villages near the city in the Akhdar region, including cereals, dates, olives, wool, and meat. Bayda also has one of the most important markets of vegetables and fruits in Libya, because of the naturally fertile lands. Financing is also important, and the city’s National Commercial Bank is the second largest bank in Libya. It also has a number of other large banks, including the Office of the Central Bank of Libya in the city center. There is also the Agricultural Research Centre and the main animal and large national firms, such as Brega Oil Marketing Company and Gulf Oil, are important to the city’s economy. Coupled with an increase in consumer prices, is an increase in the importance of the retail sector in the economy of the city. In recent years, international companies such as United Colors of Benetton, H & M, and Nike, have opened in Bayda.
Tourism as an industry is still in the very early stages in Libya. Bayda is an important tourist city in Libya, a base to explore the nearby tourist areas such as the Ancient Greece ruins of Cyrene and Apollonia, and Libyan Desert trips south into Kufra. The village Balagrae contains several large hotels, due to the tourist population. As with other cities in Libya, there is a reasonable amount of ethnic diversity in Bayda. The people of eastern Libya, Bayda included, have in recent centuries been of predominantly Arab descent. The earliest inhabitants were Berber peoples, and from the 7th century BCE until the 7th century CE, the main ethnic group was Greek. In recent times, there has been an influx of African immigrants into Bayda. The city also hosts many Egyptian immigrants. A small Greek community is also present. The Greek island of Crete is a short distance from Bayda, and many modern families in the city bear Cretan surnames. The majority of Lib