Benghazi Named Islamic Cultural Capital for 2023

Benghazi Named Islamic Cultural Capital for 2023
Benghazi Named Islamic Cultural Capital for 2023

The city of Benghazi has been named the Islamic Cultural Capital for the year 2023. The announcement comes 16 years after Tripoli, received the same honour, in 2007.

Officials from the Benghazi Security Directorate recently convened a meeting at the National Museum. The assembly, which included numerous security leaders, aimed to discuss and oversee security arrangements in preparation for the grand celebrations marking the occasion.

The event will showcase a myriad of cultural, Islamic, literary, and artistic activities resonating with Libya’s unique identity.

The honour came after the city met specific criteria set by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The criteria ensured that chosen cities have made significant contributions to the spheres of academic, cultural, Islamic, and historical roles in the Islamic world.

Benghazi is the second-most populous city in Libya, and one of its major economic centers. Historically, Benghazi was an important hub in the Mediterranean, serving as a key trade and transportation link.

The city has witnessed significant historical and political events, including playing a central role during the 2011 Libyan civil war.

The designation of an “Islamic Cultural Capital” is an initiative by the Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO). This is a specialized organization within the OIC.

Each year, cities from three regions (Asia, Arab, and Africa) are chosen based on their contributions to Islamic culture and civilization. The title is meant to highlight the chosen city’s cultural, historical, and civilizational significance, and to promote Islamic cultural heritage.

The OIC is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states, with a collective population of over 1.8 billion. The organization states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.”

Its related entity, ISESCO, is responsible for the Islamic Cultural Capital initiative.

It’s worth noting that Libya has a rich history that spans from the Phoenician, Roman, and Greek periods, to more recent Islamic and Ottoman times. It has various archaeological and historical sites and museums that showcase this vast heritage.

Both Benghazi and Tripoli have ancient roots, with Benghazi founded by the Greeks in the 5th century BC, and Tripoli by the Phoenicians around the 7th century BC. Over the millennia, these cities have seen numerous civilizations, and have contributed significantly to Islamic and world history.