Zliten City

The municipality of Zliten is located on the western coast of Libya, approximately 150 km east of the capital, Tripoli. It is bordered by the city of Al-Khums to the west, Misrata to the east, Bani Walid to the south, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north. Its population, according to the 2006 census, was about "184 thousand" people, and according to the latest census (2012 AD) according to the civil registry, the population of Zliten is "231 thousand" people. The city was famous for being the most prominent center in the country for teaching Maliki jurisprudence and memorizing the Qur'an in one of the most important educational institutions In the country over 500 years, it is the corner of Sidi Abdel Salam.

Zliten, the City
The municipality of Zliten lies on the western coast of Libya, approximately 150 km east of the capital Tripoli. Zliten borders the city of Alkhums to the west, Misrata to the east, Bani Walid to the south and the Mediterranean to the north. In the 2006 census, Zliten’s population was about 184,000. According to the latest census (2012), based on the data of the Civil Registry, the population is 231,000. The city is renowned for being the most prominent centre in the country to teach Maleki jurisprudence (a major school in Islamic jurisprudence), as well as teaching the Quran, especially in one of the most significant educational institutions in the country over 500 years, namely The Atheneum of Sheikh Abdussalam Alasmar.

زاوية سيدي عبد السلام

((….)) The Atheneum (Zawiya) of Sheikh Abdussalam Alasmar

Origin of the Name
Zliten, in some old documents, “Yozliten”, is said to have originated from Arabic “zel attin” (shade of fig trees). In the past, the city was a transit area and a resting place for caravans. This place was well known for the many fig trees around, so the traders always agreed to meet at “Zil Attin”. However, this etymology of the name Zliten has yet to be proved. “Yazliten” is used in thousands of old documents and manuscripts and dates back to the First Ottoman Era. During the late Turkish rule, the name was documented as “Theliten” (with an Arabic emphatic th instead of the current z). In addition, the sons of Yasliten (or Yazliten) are the descendants of Meghrawa, a branch of the Amazigh tribe Zanata.

Zliten is in the western part of Libya, 150 kilometres east of Tripoli. It has a 65-kilometre Mediterranean coast and over eight square kilometres of marshlands in the north. Zliten shares borders with Alkhums to the west, Bani Walid to the north and Misrata to the east.

لوحة فسيفساء أثرية في مدينة زليتن

((….)) A historical mosaic in Zliten

Zliten over Time
Zliten has substantially changed over the past four decades. In the early 1970s, it was a small town surrounded by groves of date palm trees, and at the centre was the “Piazza” square. The buildings and other surroundings were close to the centre. Although a wall embraced the town, a civilized lifestyle was limited. Today, that small town has massively expanded to become one of the biggest cities in the country thanks to the local effortless urban development.

مبنى بلدية زليتن قبل أكثر من 100 عام

((….)) Town hall, more than 100 years ago.


The estimated population is about 320,000, predominantly middle-aged men and women. Males are less among the elderly. Although the coastal area is the most populous, fewer people live nearby the sea, and the majority live a few kilometres away.

Culture and Education
Zliten has always been well known for several intellectual aspects. Above all is teaching the Quran and Islamic education in general. The many “zawiyas” or “manaras” (schools that teach the Quran) have always been a common destination over centuries. The most famed ones are the Manara of Sheikh Abdussalam Alasmar, the Manara of Assaba’, the Manara of Albaza, and the Zawiya of Shiekh Alfutaisi.
Zliten also has some higher education institutions. For example, Alasmarya Islamic University includes twenty different faculties, and the Higher Institute for Engineering Technology is the first higher education institution in the city, established in 1984.

Natural Resources
There are significant agricultural areas in Zliten, namely Dafniyah and Ka’am regions. These regions are well-planned farms, which the Italians used during their colonial period. Ezdou is a region where there is a large agricultural and livestock projects as well as other individual agricultural activities. However, these activities are decreasing due to the high groundwater salinity.
Date palms are abundant everywhere in Zliten. For that, dates have been one of the most important sources of income. In addition to the date production of Fezzan and Houn, Zliten supplies many Libyan cities with dates. Furthermore, the cultivation of olive trees, almonds and vines is thriving, especially in the south of Zliten.

The municipality of Zliten has the two largest cement production plants in Libya, with a capacity of four to six production lines. However, the actual production capacity is limited to one line for each plant, and that is to reduce pressure on the workers. A third plant is under construction.
The Arab Union Contracting Company owns the second plant. The plant activated the first line on 11/09/2005 and the second on 01/09/2009.
A Feed factory of private ownership.
A tinned fish and tuna factory.
Zliten Cookies Factory.
Zliten Garment Factory.
Handicraft workshops of private ownership.
Various industrial workshops owned by individuals especially in the field of machinery spare parts production, carpentry and steelworks.
Arab Union Factory for Metal Shelves and Furniture.

Touristic attractions in the city vary from ancient Roman landmarks to Ottoman and Italian monuments. The Palace of Alharsha, Dar Buc Amira, the Ottoman Town Hall, the Italian Town Hall and the Roman Park overlooking the sea are some of the city’s attractions.

Banking and Jewelry Business
The money exchange market and jewellery business thrive in Zliten. There is a big jewellery market, exchange companies like Western Union and MoneyGram, and many other banks in the city centre.

Developing enterprises
Production of construction materials.
Heavy machinery.
Money and jewellery markets.
Health and special care centres.

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