Zliten is a town in the Misrata District of Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

. It is located on the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 west of the Gulf of Sidra
Gulf of Sidra
Gulf of Sidra is a body of water in the Mediterranean Sea on the northern coast of Libya; it is also known as Gulf of Sirte or the Great Sirte or Greater Syrtis .- Geography :The Gulf of Sidra has been a major centre for tuna fishing in the Mediterranean for centuries...

. It was the capital of the former Zlitan District.


The name Zliten is given to both the town and the whole area. As a town, Zliten is situated 160 km (99.4 mi) east of the capital, Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...

, and about 35 km (21.7 mi) east of the ancient Roman city of Leptis Magna
Leptis Magna
Leptis Magna also known as Lectis Magna , also called Lpqy, Neapolis, Lebida or Lebda to modern-day residents of Libya, was a prominent city of the Roman Empire. Its ruins are located in Khoms, Libya, east of Tripoli, on the coast where the Wadi Lebda meets the sea...

. It is about 60 km (37.3 mi) west of the city of Misrata and 40 km (24.9 mi) east of Khoms. It has spread over an area
Area is a quantity that expresses the extent of a two-dimensional surface or shape in the plane. Area can be understood as the amount of material with a given thickness that would be necessary to fashion a model of the shape, or the amount of paint necessary to cover the surface with a single coat...

 of about 8 km² (3.1 sq mi). The district of Zliten is widespread and covers an area of 3000 km² (1,158.3 sq mi). It is surrounded by the Mediterranean from the north, Misrata from the east, Bani Walid from the south and Khoms from the west.


The etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 of the city's name in Arabic is a very controversial subject. Some experts contend that it originated from an old Tamazight (Berber) designation, while others claim it is actually from Arabic for the fig trees shadow as that was where traders used to meet in passing between Tripoli and Misrata. Originally two words, it was later compounded
Compound (linguistics)
In linguistics, a compound is a lexeme that consists of more than one stem. Compounding or composition is the word formation that creates compound lexemes...

 into one word.


Zliten is home to one of Libya's most renowned Islamic universities, Al-Jamiaa Al-Asmariya (Arabic: جامع الاسمربة i.e. Al-Asmariya Islamic University). Faculties include the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry and Mouth Surgery, and the Faculty of Education. They are all under the supervision of Al-Merqib University. There is also a higher vocational training center covering various engineering fields.


Zliten has several modern banking institutions, a major shopping center and the Zliten Hotel, the city's top accommodation for tourists. In 2001, the Libyan Government proposed a number of state company projects for which joint ventures would be considered. These included an expansion of Arab Cement Company’s (ACC) cement
In the most general sense of the word, a cement is a binder, a substance that sets and hardens independently, and can bind other materials together. The word "cement" traces to the Romans, who used the term opus caementicium to describe masonry resembling modern concrete that was made from crushed...

 plant in Zliten valued at $169 million. In February 2005, the initial public offering
Initial public offering
An initial public offering or stock market launch, is the first sale of stock by a private company to the public. It can be used by either small or large companies to raise expansion capital and become publicly traded enterprises...

 of shares in the formerly state-owned ACC resulted in the sale of 60% of the company. ACC proposed to build a second 1-Mt/yr-capacity cement production line at its Zliten plant. Arab Union Contracting Co. (AUCC) commissioned a 1.2-Mt/yr-capacity cement clinker
Clinker may refer to:* Clinker , construction method for wooden boats* Clinker , waste from industrial processes* Clinker , a kilned then quenched cement product* Clinker brick, rough dark coloured bricks...

 plant near Zliten in December 2004; commercial production began in September 2005. AUCC began a feasibility study
Feasibility study
Feasibility studies aim to objectively and rationally uncover the strengths and weaknesses of the existing business or proposed venture, opportunities and threats as presented by the environment, the resources required to carry through, and ultimately the prospects for success. In its simplest...

 for the construction of a second clinker production line at its production facility. In 2004, construction began on extending a seawater desalination
Desalination, desalinization, or desalinisation refers to any of several processes that remove some amount of salt and other minerals from saline water...

 plant in Zliten with a total capacity of 10000 cubic metre per day using the multi-stage flash distillation process.

History and culture

There are many ancient Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 sites in Zliten, such as the Villa of Omira ('Darbuk Omira' ), and the Castle in Al-Jumaa. The town also contains the Mausoleum
A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or persons. A monument without the interment is a cenotaph. A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb or the tomb may be considered to be within the...

 and Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 of Sidi
Sidi is a masculine title of respect, meaning "my master" in Western Arabic language and Egyptian Arabic equivalent to modern popular usage of the English Mr....

 Abd As-Salam Al-Asmar
Abd As-Salam Al-Asmar
Sidi Abd As-Salam Al-Asmar was a renowned religious Libyan Muslim saint who lived and died during the 15th century . The name al-Asmar is translated as meaning "black" or "brown skinned".-Life:...

, a revered Islamic saint who lived and died in Zliten during the 15th century. There is some fine Arabic calligraphy
Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering . A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner"...

 in sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

 on top of the outer pillars of the building saying al-mulk-'illah ("Everything to Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

"). The town is famous for its olives, palm trees and citrus fruits along beautiful coastal shores. The Slat Abn Shaif Synagogue
Slat Abn Shaif Synagogue
The Slat Abn Shaif Synagogue in Zliten, Libya is a historic synagogue and Lag Ba'omer pilgrimage site for Libyan Jews. It is over 900 years old.-External links:*...

  in Zliten is a historic synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 and Lag Ba'omer
Lag Ba'omer
Lag BaOmer , also known as Lag LaOmer amongst Sephardi Jews, is a Jewish holiday celebrated on the thirty-third day of the Counting of the Omer, which occurs on the 18th day of Iyar. One reason given for the holiday is as the day of passing of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Modern Jewish tradition links...

 pilgrimage site for Libyan Jews. It is over 900 years old.


Zliten has a proliferation of date palm
Date Palm
The date palm is a palm in the genus Phoenix, cultivated for its edible sweet fruit. Although its place of origin is unknown because of long cultivation, it probably originated from lands around the Persian Gulf. It is a medium-sized plant, 15–25 m tall, growing singly or forming a clump with...

s that yield what is considered by many to be the best tarbuni (date juice) in Libya. Tarbuni is often served with asida
Asida is an Arab dish made up of a cooked wheat flour lump of dough, sometimes with added butter or honey. Similar to gruel or porridge, it is eaten in many Arab and North African countries. It is usually eaten by hand, without the use of utensils...

, made from flour, boiled with salt, and eaten with olive and date juice. Asida is usually reserved to commemorate the birth of the Islamic prophet Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 (Mawlid al-Nabi, celebrated on the twelfth day of Rabi al-Awwal). As-Sida is also the celebratory dish of choice for Tripolitanian families when a child is born.

Zliten in the Libyan Civil War

During the 2011 Libyan civil war
2011 Libyan civil war
The 2011 Libyan civil war was an armed conflict in the North African state of Libya, fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. The war was preceded by protests in Benghazi beginning on 15 February 2011, which led to clashes with security...

, Zliten has been contested between forces loyal to Gaddafi, and opposition fighters who have been trying to seize the strategically located city to allow them to advance to the capital Tripoli. In mid-June 2011, the Zliten uprising
Zliten uprising
The Zliten uprising was an uprising in the 2011 Libyan civil war, started by rebel anti-Gaddafi forces against loyalist pro-Gaddafi forces in the city of Zliten. The city was of strategic importance due to its close proximity to the capital of Tripoli...

 by rebel fighters against the military garrison in the city was crushed. The town was on the front line by July as rebels from Misrata continued their attempts to take control of the town from the loyalists based there during the Battle of the Misrata frontline
Battle of the Misrata frontline
The Battle of the Misrata frontline was a battle during the 2011 Libyan civil war between pro-Gaddafi loyalists and anti-Gaddafi forces on the western and southwestern outskirts of Misrata, the third largest city in Libya...

. In mid-July 2011, Zliten was the site of a massive pro-Gaddafi rally when thousands of Gaddafi supporters gathered on the main square in the city to show their support to the Libyan leader.

On 5 August, the Libyan government claimed that NATO airstrikes killed 85 people, including 33 childen, 32 women and 20 men, attacking a children's Hospital near Zliten. Reporters were shown 30 bodies in a local morgue, including two children. Officials claimed that the rest of the bodies were taken to other hospitals, but this could not be independently confirmed.

On 19 August, the rebels made a major push and drove loyalist forces out of the city.

External links

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