Libya / Cities and Towns /
Other spelling: Darna, Darnah, Dernah
City in northeastern Libya (Cyrenaica) with 180,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), on the Mediterranean Sea. Derna is along the eastern ridge of the Green Mountains (Jabal Akhdar) in the river valley of Derna.
The immediate nature of Derna is mountainous and receives more rain that the Libyan average.
Derna has a diverse economy, of which agriculture is a central part. The main produce are dates, and different sorts of vegetables and fruits, especially bananas and grapes. Sponge-fishing is still an important activity. Manufacturing includes the production of garments. In winter, Derna is a popular destination for national tourism.
Derna is well-connected to other urban centres of Cyrenaica and the rest of Libya by road. There is also some sea travelling through its small port.
Derna still holds its old quarters, with covered markets and surrounded by the modern city. The main landmark is the Sahab Mosque with 42 domes.
The Greeks established a city here in ancient times, naming it Darnis.
4th century CE: A Christian bishopric is established here by the Byzantines.
7th century: Conquered by the Muslim Arabs, resulting in gradual decline.
15th century: The town is refounded on the ruins of the old town, being named Derna.
1805: Captured by the USA during the Tripolitan War.
Passes back to Ottoman control and is turned into a slave port.
1939-1942 During World War 2, many battles are fought over Derna and the surrounding region.
1942: Comes under British control.