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Mogadishu, known locally as Hamar, is the capital and most populous city of Somalia. Located in the coastal Banaadir region on the Indian Ocean, the city has served as an important port for millennia. According to the United Nations Development Programme the population in 2005 was 901,183 and according to the CIA factbook in 2015 it was estimated to be 2,138,000. According to Demographia as of April 6, it has a population of 2,265,000 residents.

Tradition and old records assert that southern Somalia, including the Mogadishu area, was historically inhabited by hunter-gatherers. These were later joined by Cushitic agro-pastoralists, who would go on to establish local aristocracies. During its medieval Golden Age, Mogadishu was ruled by the Muzaffar dynasty, a vassal of the Ajuran Sultanate. It subsequently fell under the control of an assortment of local Sultanates and polities, most notably the Geledi Sultanate. The city later became the capital of Italian Somaliland (1889-1936) in the colonial period. After the Somali Republic became independent in 1960, Mogadishu became known and promoted as the White Pearl of the Indian Ocean. After the ousting of the Siad Barre regime in 1991 and the ensuing civil war, various militias fought for control of the city, later to be replaced by the Islamic Courts Union in the mid-2000s. The ICU thereafter splintered into more radical groups, notably Al-Shabaab, which fought the Transitional Federal Government (2004-2012) and its AMISOM allies. With a change in administration in late 2010, government troops and their military partners had succeeded in forcing out Al-Shabaab by August 2011. Mogadishu has subsequently experienced a period of intense reconstruction.

As Somalia’s capital city, many important national institutions are based in Mogadishu. It is the seat of the Federal Government of Somalia established in August 2012, with the Somalia Federal Parliament serving as the government’s legislative branch. Yusuf Hussein Jimaale has been the Mayor of Mogadishu since October 2015. Villa Somalia is the official residential palace and principal workplace of the President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. In May 2012, the First Somali Bank was established in the capital, which organized Mogadishu’s first ever Technology, Entertainment, Design (TEDx) conference. The establishment of a local construction yard has also galvanized the city’s real-estate sector. Arba’a Rukun Mosque is one of the oldest Islamic places of worship in the capital, built circa 667 (1268/9 AD). The Mosque of Islamic Solidarity in Mogadishu is the largest masjid in the Horn region. Mogadishu Cathedral was built in 1928 by the colonial authorities in Italian Somaliland in a Norman Gothic style, and served as the traditional seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mogadiscio. The National Museum of Somalia is based in Mogadishu and holds many culturally important artefacts. The National Library of Somalia is undergoing a $1 million Somali federal government funded renovation, including a new library complex.

Mogadishu is home to a number of scholastic and media institutions. As part of the municipality’s urban renewal program, 100 schools across the capital are scheduled to be refurbished and reopened. The Somali National University (SNU) was established in the 1950s, and professors from the university later founded the non-governmental Mogadishu University (MU). Benadir University (BU) was established in 2002 with the intention of training doctors. Various national sporting bodies have their headquarters in Mogadishu, including the Somali Football Federation and the Somali Olympic Committee. Mogadishu Stadium was constructed in 1978 during the Siad Barre administration, with the assistance of Chinese engineers. It hosts football matches with teams from the Somalia League and the Somalia Cup. Additionally, the Port of Mogadishu serves as a major national seaport and is the largest harbour in Somalia. Mogadishu International Airport, the capital’s main airport, is the hub of the national carrier Somali Airlines.

Population: 2,587,183 (2016)

Language: the official language is Somali although Arabic, Italian, and English are all spoken there.

Currency:

The currency used in Somalia is the Somali Shilling.

Image result for Somali Shilling banknotes 2016

Geography

Mogadishu is situated on the Indian Ocean coast of the Horn of Africa, in the Banaadir administrative region (gobol) in southeastern Somalia. The region itself is coextensive with the city and is much smaller than the historical province of Benadir. The city is administratively divided into the districts of Abdiaziz, Bondhere, Daynile, Dharkenley, Hamar-Jajab, Hamar-Weyne, Heliwa, Hodan, Howl-Wadag, Karan, Shangani, Shibis, Waberi, Wadajir, Wardhigley and Yaqshid. Features of the city include the Hamarwein old town, the Bakaara Market, and Gezira Beach. The sandy beaches of Mogadishu have vibrant coral reefs, and are prime real estate for the first tourist resorts in many years.

The Shebelle River (Webiga Shabelle) rises in central Ethiopia and comes within 30 kilometers (19 mi) of the Indian Ocean near Mogadishu before turning southwestward. Usually dry during February and March, the river provides water essential for the cultivation of sugarcane, cotton, and bananas.

Climate

For a city situated so near the equator, Mogadishu has a relatively dry climate. It is classified as hot and semi-arid (Köppen climate classification BSh), as with much of southeastern Somalia. By contrast, towns in northern Somalia generally have a hot arid climate (Köppen BWh).

Mogadishu is located in or near the tropical thorn woodland biome of the Holdridge global bioclimatic scheme. The mean temperature in the city year round is 27 °C, with an average maximum of 30 °C and an average minimum of 24 °C. Mean temperature readings per month vary by 3 °C (5.4 °F), corresponding with a hyperoceanic and subtype truly hyperoceanic continentality type. Precipitation per year averages 429.2 millimetres (16.9 in). There are 47 wet days annually, which are associated with a 12% daily probability of rainfall. The city has an average of 3,066 hours of sunshine per year, with 8.4 hours of sunlight per day. Mean daylight hours and minutes per day are 8h 24′. The annual percentage of sunny versus cloudy daylight hours is 70 and 30, respectively. Average sun altitude at solar noon on the 21st day of the month is 75.

Transportation

Road

Roads leading out of Mogadishu connect the city to other localities in Somalia as well as to neighbouring countries. The capital itself is cut into several grid layouts by an extensive road network, with streets supporting the flow of both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. In October 2013, major construction began on the 23 kilometer road leading to the airport. Overseen by Somali and Turkish engineers, the upgrade was completed in November and included lane demarcation. The road construction initiative was part of a larger agreement signed by the Somali and Turkish governments to establish Mogadishu and Istanbul as sister cities, and in the process bring all of Mogadishu’s roads up to modern standards. Following the treaty, the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) launched a citywide cleaning project in conjunction with the municipal cleaning department. The initiative saw around 100 rubbish collection vehicles and other equipment operated by TIKA clean the city’s roads, with the Benadir municipality taking over operation of the cleaning project in March 2015.

In 2012–2013, Mogadishu’s municipal authority in conjunction with the British and Norwegian governments began a project to install solar-powered street lights on all of the capital’s major roads. With equipment imported from Norway, the initiative cost around $140,000 and lasted several months. The solar panels have helped to improve night-time visibility and enhance the city’s overall aesthetic appeal.

Minibuses are the most common type of public transportation in Mogadishu. The next most frequently used public vehicles in the city are auto rickshaws (bajaj). They number around 3,000 units and come in various designs. The auto rickshaws represent a lower cost alternative to taxis and minibuses, typically charging half the price for the same distance, with flexible rates. Due to their affordability, capacity to negotiate narrow lanes and low fuel consumption, the three-wheeled vehicles are often appealing investment opportunities for small-scale entrepreneurs. They are generally preferred for shorter commutes. In June 2013, two new taxi companies also started offering road transportation to residents. Part of a fleet of over 100 vehicles, Mogadishu Taxi’s trademark yellow cabs offer rides throughout the city at flat rates of $5. City Taxi, the firm’s nearest competitor, charges the same flat rate, with plans to add new cabs to its fleet.

In January 2014, the Benadir administration launched a citywide street naming, house numbering and postal codes project. Officially called the House Numbering and Post Code System, it is a joint initiative of the municipal authorities and Somali business community representatives. The project is part of the ongoing modernization and development of the capital. According to former Mayor Mohamed Ahmed Nur, the initiative also aims to help the authorities firm up on security and resolve housing ownership disputes. In March 2015, the Benadir administration likewise launched a renovation project on the Hawo Asir-Fagah major road in Mogadishu. The government-public partnership aims to facilitate vehicle access in the area. According to Karaan district commissioner Ahmed Hassan Yalah’ow, the reconstruction initiative will also make the road all-weather resistant and is slated to be completed shortly.

Air

During the post-independence period, Mogadishu International Airport offered flights to numerous global destinations. In the mid-1960s, the airport was enlarged to accommodate more international carriers, with the state-owned Somali Airlines providing regular trips to all major cities. By 1969, the airport’s many landing grounds could also host small jets and DC 6B-type aircraft.

The facility grew considerably in size in the post-independence period after successive renovation projects. With the outbreak of the civil war in the early 1990s, Mogadishu International Airport’s flight services experienced routine disruptions and its grounds and equipment were largely destroyed. In the late 2000s, the K50 Airport, situated 50 kilometers to the south, served as the capital’s main airport while Mogadishu International Airport, now renamed Aden Adde International Airport, briefly shut down. However, in late 2010, the security situation in Mogadishu had significantly improved, with the federal government eventually managing to assume full control of the city by August 2011.

In May 2011, the Ministry of Transport announced that SKA-Somalia had been contracted to manage operations at the re-opened Aden Adde International Airport over a period of ten years. Among its first initiatives, worth an estimated $6 million, SKA invested in new airport equipment and expanded support services by hiring, training and equipping 200 local workers to meet international airport standards. The company also assisted in comprehensive infrastructure renovations, restored a dependable supply of electricity, revamped the baggage handling facilities as well as the arrival and departure lounges, put into place electronic check-in systems, and firmed up on security and work-flow. Additionally, SKA connected the grounds’ Somali Civil Aviation and Meteorological Agency (SCAMA) and immigration, customs, commercial airlines and Somali Police Force officials to the internet. By January 2013, the firm had introduced shuttle buses to ferry travelers to and from the passenger terminal.

In December 2011, the Turkish government unveiled plans to further modernize the airport as part of Turkey’s broader engagement in the local post-conflict reconstruction process. Among the scheduled renovations were new systems and infrastructure, including a modern control tower to monitor the airspace. In September 2013, the Turkish company Favori LLC began operations at the airport. The firm announced plans to renovate the aviation building and construct a new one, as well as upgrade other modern service structures. A $10 million project, it will increase the airport’s existing 15 aircraft capacity to 60. In January 2015, a new, state-of-the-art terminal was opened at the airport. Featuring modern passenger facilities and a glass façade, it will enable the airport to double its number of daily commercial flights to 60, with a throughput of around 1,000 passengers per hour.

As of January 2015, the largest airline services using Aden Adde International Airport include the Somali-owned private carriers Jubba Airways, Daallo Airlines, and African Express Airways, in addition to UN charter planes, Turkish Airlines, and Felix Airways (Al Saeeda Airlines). The airport also offers flights to other cities in Somalia, such as Galkayo, Berbera and Hargeisa, as well as to international destinations like Djibouti, Jeddah, and Istanbul.

In July 2012, Mohammed Osman Ali (Dhagah-tur), the General Director of the Ministry of Aviation and Transport, also announced that the Somali government had begun preparations to revive the Mogadishu-based national carrier, Somali Airlines. The first new aircraft were scheduled for delivery in December 2013.

Sea

The Port of Mogadishu, also known as the Mogadishu International Port, is the official seaport of Mogadishu. Classified as a major class port, it is the largest harbour in the country.

After incurring some damage during the civil war, the federal government launched the Mogadishu Port Rehabilitation Project, an initiative to rebuild, develop and modernize the port. The renovations included the installation of Alpha Logistics technology. A joint international delegation consisting of the Director of the Port of Djibouti and Chinese officials specializing in infrastructure reconstruction concurrently visited the facility in June 2013. According to Mogadishu Port manager Abdullahi Ali Nur, the delegates along with local Somali officials received reports on the port’s functions as part of the rebuilding project’s planning stages.

In 2013, the Port of Mogadishu’s management reportedly reached an agreement with representatives of the Iranian company Simatech Shipping LLC to handle vital operations at the seaport. Under the name Mogadishu Port Container Terminal, the firm is slated to handle all of the port’s technical and operational functions.

In October 2013, the federal Cabinet endorsed an agreement with the Turkish firm Al-Bayrak to manage the Port of Mogadishu for a 20-year period. The deal was secured by the Ministry of Ports and Public Works, and also assigns Al-Bayrak responsibility for rebuilding and modernizing the seaport. In September 2014, the federal government officially delegated management of the Mogadishu Port to Al-Bayrak. The firm’s modernization project will cost $80 million.

Railway

There were projects during the 1980s to reactivate the 114 km (71 mi) railway between Mogadishu and Jowhar, built by the Italians in 1926 but dismantled in World War II by British troops. It was originally intended that this railway would reach Addis Ababa. Only a few remaining tracks inside Mogadishu’s harbour area are still used.