Feb 23, 2012


Kufra is the largest province in Libya, approximately one fifth (20%) of the country. 
It is in the south-east, and it is the only place in Libya which borders the 3 countries with hundreds of kilometers long borders. 
photo by Maps of World [ link ]    
This region which is famous for its basin and many oasis in the middle of the Sahara is a link between Sudan, Chad and Libya. Safe passage to Africa. Centre of Libyan import and export.
It has very rich oil and gas fields stretching from Libya to the mountains of Owainat. And has the largest underground basin of fresh water in the world, Al-Jawf, rich with palms and gardens.

The word Kufra comes from the Arabic word kafir, the Arabic term for non-Muslims (often translated as "infidels", literally "those who conceal [the truth]") with reference to the Toubou people native to the region.

Kufra did not fall under the dominion of either the Arabs or the Ottomans and was part of a Toubou Sultanate with capital in Tazirbu.In the 1840s, the Toubou were colonized by the Arabized Berber tribe of Zuwayya and eventually by the Italians in the 1930s.

Importance of Kufra for Italians increased when the Second World War started and, after the Suez Canal was closed to Italian shipping, connections with Italian East Africa became mainly aerial, using Kufra and its strategic location.

Kufra, thanks to its key role for the Italian Occupation Army, soon became a target for the Allies, with France and British desert troops beginning a long battle for its conquest, which ended with the war. 

In recent decades, Kufra has become a major point on the route of African migrants who try to reach Europe by various routes. In 2007, European Parlamentary Delegations defined Kufra as "a free zone, a sort of starting Centre of Temporary Permanence CPT against the law... These gathering centres are places, in which the first contacts with the criminal organizations occur. Such organizations promote the "journey of hope", with a flexible handling of the Migrants' African routes according to the restriction policies adopted by the various governments."

At the beginning of the 1970s, Muammar Gaddafi launched in Kufra a great cultivation project aimed at developing agriculture in the desert. LEPA irrigation is provided by fossil water beneath the ground surface, the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System, the only accessible water resource in the area. Rotors (high sprinkler that rotates) provide irrigation and the obtained circles have a diameter of about 1 km and can be observed from space.

Kufra - irrigation circles seen from SPOT satellite [wikipedia.org]
This is one of Libya's largest agricultural projects
Because only about 2 percent of Libya's land receives enough rainfall to be cultivated, this project uses the underground aquifer. The green circles in the desert frequently indicate tracts of agriculture supported by center-pivot irrigation. 
The agricultural project is an easy-to-recognize landmark for orbiting astronauts aboard the International Space Station.The Libyan government also has a project called the Great Manmade River to pump and transport these groundwater reserves to the coast to support Libya’s growing population and industrial development
Kufra - cultivated areas seen from space
Kufra has the largest proportion of solar brightness in Libya (according to the Solar Energy Research Center), making it one of the first cities in the world to generate clean solar energy. 
It has the variety of natural materials, sand, copper, gold, and other (this is from studies carried out by the Industrial Research Center, previously).

Kufra also has spiritual and cultural value. It is also atractive for Safari tourism, and its lakes in the middle of the desert.
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