Marj, Libya

Marj, Libya
El Merj
Marj is located in Libya
Location in Libya
Coordinates: 32°29′12″N 20°50′02″E / 32.48667°N 20.83389°E / 32.48667; 20.83389Coordinates: 32°29′12″N 20°50′02″E / 32.48667°N 20.83389°E / 32.48667; 20.83389
Country  Libya
Region Cyrenaica
District Marj
Elevation[1] 333 m (1,093 ft)
Population (2004)[1]
 - Total 85,315
Time zone UTC + 2

Marj /ˈmɑrdʒ/ (Arabic: المرج‎Al Marǧ, English: The Meadows), also spelt El Merj, formerly Barca or Barce, is a city in north eastern Libya and the administrative seat of the Marj District.[2] It lies in an upland valley separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a range of hills, part of the Jebel Akhdar Mountains.

It has an estimated population of 85,315 (As of 2004).[1] There are a couple of banks on the main street and the main post office is in the centre of town, not far from the Abu Bakr Assiddiq mosque.[3]



Marj was the site of the 7th-century-BCE Greek colony of Barce. It was captured by the Persians in 512 BCE,[4] and was annexed by the Ptolemies following Alexander the Great's death in 323 BCE. It was taken by the Arabs under 'Amr ibn al-'As in 641 CE.

In the 1800s, the town grew around a Turkish fort built in 1842 and now restored. The Italians developed the town (1913–41) as an administrative and market centre and hill resort.

Marj was the capital of British occupied Cyrenaica from 1942-1943.[5]

Most of the city was destroyed[3] by a 5.6 earthquake on 21 February 1963,[6] which killed some 300 people and injured 500 more.[7] The major rebuilding was commenced about 5 km (3.1 mi) from the old site, and was completed about 1970.


  1. ^ a b c Wolfram Alpha
  2. ^ Room, Adrian (2006) "Al Marj" Placenames of the world: origins and meanings of the names for 6,600 countries, cities, territories, natural features, and historic sites (2nd edition) McFarland, Jefferson, North Carolina, p. 26, ISBN 0-7864-2248-3
  3. ^ a b Pliez, Olivier (ed.) (2009) "Al Marj" Le Petit Futé Libye Petit Futé, Paris, p. 237, ISBN 2-7469-2276-2; in French
  4. ^ Merriam-Webster, Inc. (1972) "Barca" Webster's New Geographical Dictionary‎ G. & C. Merriam Co., Springfield, Massachusetts, p. 118, ISBN 0-87779-146-5
  5. ^ Stewart, John (1996) "Cyrenaica" The British Empire: an encyclopedia of the Crown's holdings, 1493 through 1995 McFarland & Co., Jefferson, North Carolina, p. 125, ISBN 0-7864-0177-X
  6. ^ Earthquake at USGS
  7. ^ Hewitt, Kenneth (1983) "Seismic Risk and Mountain Environments: The Role of Surface Conditions in Earthquake Disaster" Mountain Research and Development 3(1): pp. 27-44, p. 30

Further reading

See also

External links

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