Top Ten Somalian Attractions

Top Ten Somalian Attractions

       Somalia is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country’s territory. The internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government controls only a small part of the country. Somalia has been characterized as a failed state and is one of the poorest and most violent states in the world. Somalia lies in the eastern-most part of Africa, bordered by Djibouti, Kenya, the Gulf of Aden, Yemen, the Indian Ocean and Ethiopia. It has the longest coastline on the continent, and its terrain consists mainly of plateaus, plains and highlands. Hot conditions prevail year-round, along with periodic monsoon winds and irregular rainfall. In antiquity, Somalia was an important center for commerce with the rest of the ancient world, and according to most scholars, is among the most probable locations of the fabled ancient Land of Punt. During the Middle Ages, several powerful Somali empires dominated the regional trade, including the Ajuuraan State, the Sultanate of Adal, the Warsangali Sultanate and the Gobroon Dynasty. In the late 19th century, the British and Italians gained control of parts of the coast, and established British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland. In the interior, Muhammad Abdullah Hassan’s Dervish State successfully repulsed the British Empire four times and forced it to retreat to the coastal region, but the Dervishes were finally defeated in 1920 by British airpower. Italy acquired full control of their parts of the region in 1927. This occupation lasted until 1941, when it was replaced by a British military administration. Northern Somalia would remain a protectorate, while southern Somalia became a trusteeship. 1960 saw the union of the two regions into the independent Somali Republic under a civilian government. Mohamed Siad Barre seized power in 1969 and established the Somali Democratic Republic. In 1991, Barre’s government collapsed as the Somali Civil War broke out. Since 1991, no central government has controlled the entirety of the country, despite several attempts to establish a unified central government. The northwestern part of the country has been relatively stable under the self-declared, but unrecognized, sovereign state of Somaliland. The self-governing region of Puntland covers the northeast of the country. It declares itself to be autonomous, but not independent from Somalia. The Islamist Al-Shabaab controls a large part of the south of the country. Without a central government, Somalia’s inhabitants subsequently reverted to local forms of conflict resolution, either civil, Islamic, or customary law. The internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government controls only parts of the capital and some territory in the center of the nation, but has reestablished national institutions such as the Military of Somalia, and is working towards eventual national elections in 2012, when the interim government’s mandate expires. During the two decades of war and lack of government,Somalia has maintained an informal economy, based mainly on livestock, remittance/money transfer companies and telecommunications.

  1. Laas Gaal

           Laas Gaal is a complex of caves and rock shelters in Somaliland, a self-declared republic that is internationally recognized as an autonomous region of Somalia. Famous for their rock art, the caves are located in a rural area on the outskirts of Hargeisa and contain some of the earliest known cave paintings in the Horn of Africa and the African continent in general. Laas Gaal’s rock art is estimated to date back to somewhere between 9,000–8,000 and 3,000 BC.
    Links: Cave Paintings, Top Ten African Cave Paintings,,
  2. The Adal Sultanate

           The Adal Sultanate or the Kingdom of Adal (1415 – 1555) was a medieval multi-ethnic Muslim state located in the Horn of Africa that had relations and trade with countries in Africa, the Near East, Europe and Asia. Many of the historic cities in the Horn of Africa such as Maduna, Abasa, Berbera, Zeila and Harar flourished with courtyard houses, mosques, shrines, walled enclosures and cisterns during the kingdom’s Golden Age. After the death of Sa’ad ad-Din II, it succeeded the Kingdom of Ifat, and Adalite armies under the leadership of illustrative rulers such as Sabr ad-Din II, Mansur ad-Din, Jamal ad-Din II, Shams ad-Din and general Mahfuz continued the struggle against the Solomonic Christian Empire. At the turn of the 16th century, Adal organized an effective army led by Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi that invaded the Ethiopian Empire. This campaign is historically known as the Conquest of Abyssinia or Futuh al Habash, in which Ahmed pioneered the use of cannons supplied by the Ottoman Empire in Horn African warfare against Solomonic forces and the Portuguese army led by Cristóvão da Gama. At its height, the state controlled large parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea.
  3. Fakr ad-Din Mosque

           The Fakr ad-Din Mosque is the oldest mosque in Mogadishu, Somalia. It is located in Hamar Weyne (literally “Big Hamar”), the oldest part of the city. The mosque was built in 1269 by the first Sultan of Mogadishu. Stone, including Indian marble, and coral were the primary materials used in the construction of the mosque, which displays a compact rectangular plan with a domed mihrab axis. Glazed tiles were also used in the decoration of mihrab, one of which bears a dated inscription. Photographs of the Fakr ad-Din mosque feature in drawings and photographs of central Mogadishu from the late 19th century onwards. The mosque can be identified amidst other buildings by its two cones, one round and the other hexagonal.
    Links: Top Ten Mosques,,
  4. Qa’ableh

           Qa’ableh is a town in the northern Sanaag region of Somalia. It is the site of numerous archaeological structures and tombs.
  5. Taleex

           Taleh is an historical town in the northeastern Sool region of Somalia. It served as the headquarters of the pre-independence Dervish State.
  6. Zeila

           Zeila, also known as Zaila, is a port city on the Gulf of Aden coast, situated in the northwestern Awdal region of Somalia. Located near the Djibouti border, the town sits on a sandy spit surrounded by the sea. It is known for its offshore islands, coral reef and mangroves. Landward, the terrain is unbroken desert for some 50 miles. Berbera is 170 miles southeast of Zeila, while the Ethiopian city of Harar is 200 miles to the west. Local control of Zeila is disputed between Awdalland, a proposed autonomous state, and Somaliland, a self-declared sovereign state that is internationally recognized as an autonomous region of Somalia.
    Links: Top Ten Ports,
  7. Maduna
  8. Abasa
  9. Berbera
  10. Links: Top Ten Pirates,,