) is a port
city in eastern Libya
. It has a population of 100,000
It was the seat of one of the wealthiest provinces in the Barbary States
, and remains the capital of the Derna District
, with a much smaller area. Derna has a unique environment among Libyan cities, as it lies between green mountains, the Mediterranean Sea, and the desert. The city is also home to people of mixed origins.
The city was also the location of the famous Battle of Derna
(1805), the first victory achieved by the United States Military
on foreign soil. Occurring during the First Barbary War
, the battle was fought between a force of roughly 500 US Marines and Mediterranean mercenaries and four or five thousand Barbary troops.
were the Greek forms of the name for the city.
While the form Dardanis
is sometimes found, it is erroneous.
Under Rome the city was referred to as Darnis
. Under Islam, it was known as Derneh
) or Terneh
Classic era and Middle Ages
Old Market of Derna
Under Ottoman rule, Derna was initially under the governor at Tripoli
, but shortly after 1711 it fell under the Karamanli sultanate
, until 1835 when it became a dependency of the autonomous sanjak
, essentially Cyrenaica
, which was governed directly from Constantinople.
This in turn, in 1875, became the vilayet
In the 1850s it had an estimated 4,500 inhabitants,
who lived by agriculture, fishing and the coastal trade.
The oldest mosque in Derna is Al-masjeed al-ateeq, or the "Old Mosque", restored by wali Mahmoud Karamanli in 1772, vaulted with 42 small cupolas. This kind of vault was in use due to lack of some materials, like timber or stone in the region of Cyrenaica. There is another mosque, named Masjeed az-zawiyah, built in 1846, more strictly curved in the side of a hill.
The French admiral Gantheaume
landed at Derna in June 1800 in an attempt to reinforce Napoleon in Egypt
by bringing troops overland, but was rebuffed by the local garrison.
On 16 October 1911 Italian troops occupied Derna during the Italo-Turkish War
. The Italian rule over Derna lasted 29 years, 3 months and 14 days until it was captured on 30 January 1941 by Australian Troops during the Second World War
's North African Campaign
On 6 April 1941, German forces retook the city from the British, and on 15 November 1942, British forces recaptured it.
Libyan Republic and civil war
Mausoleum of a Sahaba (companion of Muhammad) before its destruction by Salafis.
In 2007, American troops in Iraq uncovered a list of foreign fighters for the Iraqi insurgency
. Of the 112 Libyans on the list, 52 had come from Derna. Derna has the reputation of being the most fundamentalist Muslim city in Libya.
Derna is located at the eastern end of the Jebel Akhdar
, one of the rarest forested areas in Libya, given that Libya has one of the lowest forested lands ratio on earth, which it makes a mere 0.1% of the total country due to its arid climate. However, Derna is in proximity of the fertile upland area of the eastern Libya, which is the wettest region of Libya (600 mm).
Derna features a hot semi-arid climate
) with strong Mediterranean
influences: essentially all the modest annual rains fall between October and March. The annual rainfall is around 275 millimetres or 11 inches.
In winter, the city's average temperature ranges between 9 and 20 °C (48.2 and 68.0 °F). Summers are quite long and effectively rainless with afternoon temperatures average well above 27 °C or 80.6 °F between June and October.
Derna is a city that has three main squares: the most popular square is the Maydan Assahabah.
This square was always used for mass demonstrations against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
. The city is also a tourist hub, due to its wonderful old city (the medina), which is home to Islamic architecture. The Medina consists of a mosque, church, synagogue, many small streets, and old souqs
. Derna is also a city that consists of different streets and various neighborhoods, such as Downtown (Wast Il Blaad), Al Ikweih, Al Mighar, Assahel Ashargi, Al Wadi, Bab Tobruq, Al Fitayih, and Bab Shaiha.
There are many places of tourist interest, such as the Old Medina, Dark Souq, Sahaba Mosque, Attiq Mosque (42 Domes), Zuhair ibn Qa'is Mausoleum, al Kharraza, Souq al Farda and Khidra, Piazza Hamra, Piazza Derna, Maydan Al Sahhaba, Jewish Synagogue, Byzantine Church, Catholic Church, Ras Tin Beach, Piazza Attair, Ibrahim Istaa Omar, Derna Valley, Derna Waterfall, Finar Avenue, Zangat Al Bahr (Bahr Street), Omar Faiek Shennib
Street, Zangat Al Hmar (Hmar Street).
Derna is home to two main football clubs: Darnes & Al Afriqi. They have a long and great history of classic rivalry.
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