Libya - Culture

Culture

Main article: Culture of Libya Further information: Music of Libya and Libyan literature

Libya is culturally similar to its neighboring Maghrebian states. Libyans consider themselves very much a part of a wider Arab community. This is strengthened by Arabic being the only official language of the state. Under dictatorship the teaching of foreign languages previously taught in academic institutions was forbidden, along with even the use of the Berber language, leaving entire generations of Libyans with limitations in their comprehension of the English language.

Libyan Arabs have a heritage in the traditions of the previously nomadic Bedouin tribes and most Libyans will associate themselves with a particular family name originating from tribal or conquest based, typically from Ottoman forefathers, heritage.

There are few theaters or art galleries due to cultural repression and lack of infrastructure development under the regime of dictatorship. For many years there have been no public theaters, and only very few cinemas showing foreign films. The tradition of folk culture is still alive and well, with troupes performing music and dance at frequent festivals, both in Libya and abroad.

A large number of Libyan television stations are devoted to political review, Islamic topics and cultural phenomena. A number of TV stations air various styles of traditional Libyan music. Tuareg music and dance are popular in Ghadames and the south. Libyan television broadcasts air programs mostly in Arabic though usually have time slots for English and French programs. A 1996 analysis by the Committee to Protect Journalists found Libya’s media was the most tightly controlled in the Arab world during the country's dictatorship. However as of 2012 hundreds of TV stations have begun to air due to the collapse of censorship from the old regime and the initiation of "free media".

Many Libyans frequent the country's beach and they also visit Libya's archaeological sites—especially Leptis Magna, which is widely considered to be one of the best preserved Roman archaeological sites in the world. The most common form of public transport between cities is the bus, though many people travel by automobile. There are no railway services in Libya, but these are planned for construction in the near future (see rail transport in Libya). The nation's capital, Tripoli, boasts many museums and archives; these include the Government Library, the Ethnographic Museum, the Archaeological Museum, the National Archives, the Epigraphy Museum and the Islamic Museum. The Red Castle Museum located in the capital near the coast and right in the city center, built in consultation with UNESCO, may be the country's most famous.

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