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Trip PlannerAfrica  /  Libya  /  Al Jabal Al Akhdar District  /  Al Bayda

Al Bayda

Bayda, or Elbeida , is a commercial and industrial city in eastern Libya. It is located in northern Cyrenaica. With a population of 250,000 people, Bayda is the 4th-largest city in Libya . It is the capital city of the Jabal al Akhdar district.HistoryBayda's history stretches back to Ancient Greece, when it was known as Balagrae. The 2,000-year-old ruins of the ancient Greek colony Cyrene are located nearby in Shahad.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 Sayyid Muhammad ibn Ali as-Senussi in the area in the 19th century, and the construction of a zawiya, the city was renamed Az Zawiya Al Bayda. The modern city was built in the 1950s. It was originally intended to be the new capital of Libya and most of the necessary government buildings were constructed there. Eventually, the plan to move the capital from Tripoli to Bayda was dropped. Bayda is the administrative seat for Jabal al Akhdar district.NameBayḍāʾ means "white" in Arabic. The naming of the city is connected with the Senussi movement, which had dedicated zawiyas in the town to educate local people in Islamic theology, Quranic memorisation to the young, as well as local and tribal conflict resolution, as was customary at the time. The town became known as az-Zawiya al-Bayḍāʾ (the White Monastery) because of the white painted zawiya, which lies on top of a high hill and was clearly visible from a distance. Within time, the word zawiya was dropped and the city became known simply as Bayda.
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