Theme Week Libya – Kufra oasis group

Thursday, 23 November 2017 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General

Al Jawf © NASA

Al Jawf © NASA

Kufra is a basin and oasis group in the Kufra District of southeastern Cyrenaica in Libya. At the end of nineteenth century Kufra became the center and holy place of the Senussi order. It also played a minor role in the Western Desert Campaign of World War II. It is located in a particularly isolated area, not only because it is in the middle of the Sahara Desert but also because it is surrounded on three sides by depressions which make it dominate the passage in east-west land traffic across the desert. For the colonial Italians, it was also important as a station on the north-south air route to Italian East Africa. These factors, along with Kufra’s dominance of the southeastern Cyrenaica region of Libya, explains the oasis’s strategic importance and why it was a point of conflict during World War II.

Kufra is an elliptic shaped basin, oriented northeast-southwest. The major axis is 50 km (31 mi), the minor 20 km (12 mi) long. It is bordered by hills which are at most 100 m high. The soil consists of red marl or sand and in the lowest parts there are salt lakes or dried salines. In the basin lie the following oases:

  • Al Jawf (“Center”), the largest, situated at the northeast end of the basin, 5 km (3.1 mi) long and 2–3 km (1.2–1.9 mi) wide. It is rich with palms and gardens.
  • Buma and Buema, both small and situated to the east of Al Jawf. Gerhard Rohlfs set his camp north of Buema, and since then the locality is known as “Garet-en-Nasrani” (“Field of the Christian” in Arabic). Kufra Airport is located in Buma.
  • Ez-Zurgh, situated 4 km (2.5 mi) to the south of Al Jawf. It consists of a line of Palm trees. Until the Italian occupation it was inhabited only by slaves.
  • Et-Tleilíb and Et-Talláb, both situated to the southwest of Al Jawf. The latter is the farthest from Al Jawf, lying 20 km (12 mi) away.

On the north edge of the basin, there is the village of El Tag, which means crown in Arabic, which does not contain an oasis. It was founded by Sayyid Muhammad al-Mahdi as-Senussi, the son of the founder of the Senussi order, when he moved to Kufra and is considered the holy place of Senussi.

Al Jawf © NASA 'Great Man Made River' © Danmichaelo/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Cnes - Spot Image
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'Great Man Made River' © Danmichaelo/cc-by-sa-3.0
At the beginning of the 1970s, Libya 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, a non-renewable source and 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.

This is one of Libya’s largest agricultural projects. Because only about two 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. As of December 2011, the excessive exploitation of the aquifer has provoked the complete drying up of the lake in the oasis.

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Read more on Wikipedia Great Man-Made River and Kufra oasis group. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.


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