Hargeisa: Wikis


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Central Hargeisa at dusk.
Hargeisa is located in Somalia
Location of Hargeisa in Somalia
Coordinates: 9°30′N 44°0′E / 9.5°N 44°E / 9.5; 44
Country  Somalia
Region Somaliland
Sub-Region Maroodi Jeex
Granted capital status 1941 (British Somaliland)
  1991 (State of Somaliland)
 - Mayor Mudane Hussain Mohammoud Jiciir
Elevation 1,326 m (4,350 ft)
 - Total 1,300,000
 - Density 15/km2 (38.8/sq mi)
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)
Languages Somali, Arabic and English
Religion Sunni Islam
Website Hargeisa New Site
Old Site

Hargeisa (Somali: Hargaysa, Arabic: هرجيسا‎) is a city in the autonomous northwestern Somaliland region of Somalia.[1] It was the colonial capital of British Somaliland from 1941 to 1960 when it united with Italian Somaliland to form the Somali Republic, and also serves as the capital of the Somaliland region.[2] Hargeisa is the largest city in the Somaliland region, and the second largest city in Somalia after Mogadishu, the nation's capital.




Prehistoric inhabitants

The Laas Geel rock art on the outskirts of Hargeisa.

The city is home to Neolithic cave paintings recently discovered named Laas Geel. The cave paintings are situated on the outskirts of the city, located around a plethora of granite alcoves and rocky mountains. The paintings show ancient inhabitants of the area worshipping cattle. It also shows animals which are commonly seen in the region primarily antelopes, camels and early dogs. The Laas Geel cave paintings were discovered in November 2002 by a French archaeological team. They contain some of the earliest known art in the Horn region and Africa in general, dating back to somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000 BCE.

British Somaliland

A civil war-era plane monument in the center of Hargeisa.

In 1888, after signing successive treaties with the then ruling Somali Sultans such as Mohamoud Ali Shire of the Warsangali Sultanate, the British established a protectorate in the region referred to as British Somaliland.[3] The British garrisoned the protectorate from Aden in present-day Yemen, and administered it from their British India colony until 1898. British Somaliland was then administered by the Foreign Office until 1905 and afterwards by the Colonial Office.

Berbera, a major trading harbour on the Red Sea, was the protectorate's first capital due to its strategic importance. However, the capital was moved from Berbera to Hargeisa, and the city was granted capital status in 1941. During the East African Campaign, the protectorate was occupied by Italy in August 1940, but recaptured by the British in March 1941. The protectorate gained its independence on 26 June 1960. Days later, the country was unified with Italian Somaliland to form a new Somali Republic (Somalia) on 1 July 1960.

1980s events

Due to the Barre regime's violent repression, Somalis in the northwestern part of the country (particularly the Isaaq clan), encouraged by Ethiopia in opposition to Somalia, took up arms and formed the Somaliland National Movement (S.N.M.) in 1981 to resist Barre. In the late 1980s, Barre virtually lost control of the province and ordered the air force to bomb Hargeisa, today's capital of Somaliland. The bombing and subsequent raids of government troops claimed tens of thousands of casualties. [4]

A war memorial in the form of a MiG fighter jet was erected in Hargeisa to mark this event.


Small section of Hargeisa.

As control of Mogadishu shifted in favor of the United Somali Congress (USC) in 1991, a power struggle between the leaders led to the beginning of the city's destruction. As Mogadishu and southern Somalia was being destroyed, the opposite was happening in Hargeisa and the rest of northwestern Somalia. In 18 May 1991, secessionists in the Somaliland region had declared independence and reconstruction had begun there.

Since 1991, the city has undergone a massive facelift and over 99% of devastated commercial and residential homes have now been rebuilt and in better condition than before the war. Remittance money sent from overseas relatives contributed tremendously in the reconstruction of the city as well as entrepreneurial spirit of local residents and citizens throughout the Somaliland region.

Hargeisa has working traffic lights and traffic laws are respected. All residents entitled to drive must hold a photo driving license. All cars bear Somaliland license plates.


Hargeisa countryside

Hargeisa is located in a valley in the western section of the country. The city is in a mountainous area because it is situated in an enclosed valley of the Galgodon (Ogo) highlands, at an elevation of 1,334 meters (4,377 ft) above sea level. This altitude gives Hargeisa and the surrounding area a milder climate than the Gulf of Aden coastal area (one of the hottest areas on earth) and the Hargeisa region has a fairly equable climate. The temperature ranges between 13 and 32 degrees Celsius (55 and 89 degrees Fahrenheit).

Hargeisa receives larger amounts of rain, and used to be surrounded by forest when the city was smaller but the countryside around the city still has small juniper forests. Near Hargeisa are the fertile Sheikh and Daallo mountains, which also receive large amount of rain. South of Hargeisa is the Sahaley Savannah which attracts many different animals to graze in the area

Great Kudus

Hargeisa is also close to another town in northwestern Somalia called Arabsiyo. It is a major farming and agricultural area and it falls into the main boundaries of Hargeisa.


Due to its fertility and greenery, wild animals (e.g. zebras) come to the Hargeisa area to either breed or graze on the grassland savannah. Animals that can be found in Hargeisa include the Kudu, wild boar, Somali Wild Ass, warthogs, antelopes, the Somali sheep, wild goats, camels and many different types of birds. South of Hargeisa is a grassland savannah, which attracts many types of wildlife to the area including lions and leopards.


A shopping mall in downtown Hargeisa.

Hargeisa is the financial hub to many entrepreneurial industries ranging from food processing, gem stonecutters, construction, retail, import and export, Internet cafes, and companies that process remittances from relatives abroad who send money. Some families have moved back to the city, living in mansions in the hills during the summer.

Hargeisa city is the namesake of Hargeisa Minerals & Resources Company and contains many of Somaliland's business Headquarters in its city limits.

The city also has a private and public menageries, it houses animals from the region including lions, leopards, antelopes, birds and reptiles.


The city is home to Hargeisa International Airport, with flights to Addis Ababa, Djibouti City, Dubai and many other cities across Africa and Somalia. All foreigners are required to exchange 50 US Dollars to local currency (which is the Somaliland Shilling. (1 USD=6700 Somaliland Shillings in Open market as of April 2009, Official rate is almost half of the open market). There are local bus services in Hargeisa. There are also other buses and shared taxis that goes to other cities in Somaliland.

Paved roads are available in Hargeisa, however most have been badly damaged by tanks and shelling during the war. The vast majority of the roads were paved by the British, during colonial rule. The local government has repaired some of the roads but many others are still awaiting repair.

Buses are the most commonly used form of public transport in the city. They travel on a number of routes serving nearly all districts of the city. Intra-city bus services are available connecting the major towns and cities like Burao, Berbera and Borama to Hargeisa.

Taxis are available, but are a less common form of public transport.


School classroom

In Hargeisa, there are several universities, including the University of Hargeisa and the Somaliland University of Technology and Gollis University. There are also several state-run and privately owned secondary and high schools. In addition, many colleges, primary schools and nurseries are dispersed all around the city.

Students receive instruction from teachers who have studied abroad or from teachers who were educated prior to the Somali Civil War.


Hargeisa has a modern telephone system and nearly everyone in the city enjoys a telephone and some with access to the internet. Internet cafes are dotted all around Hargeisa and many youngsters and adults benefit from this. Mobile communication services are available in Hargeisa. The main mobile communication services in Hargeisa are operated by Telesom, Nationlink Somaliland, Soltelco Telcomand Somtel

See also


  1. ^ U.S. wary of Somali group - Denver Post
  2. ^ Somalis in Minneapolis fall under FBI suspicion - Associated Press
  3. ^ Hugh Chisholm (ed.), The encyclopædia britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information, Volume 25, (At the University press: 1911), p.383.
  4. ^ Somaliland and The Issue of International Recognition

External links

Coordinates: 9°30′N 44°0′E / 9.5°N 44°E / 9.5; 44

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Hargeisa is the capital of the self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland. It is one of the safest places in Somalia.


Hargeisa, with 1,200,000 inhabitants according to a 2000 estimate, suffered greatly during the regime of former Somalian president Siad Barre. Barre wanted to wipe out the Isaaq clan, and over 50,000 people are believed to have been killed during the bombings of the city. A MiG fighter jet in the centre of the city serves as a memorial of the brutality.

Get in

Hargeisa International Airport (HGA) connects the city with Addis Ababa, Djibouti City, Dubai, Bossaso, Mogadishu and Dire Dawa. Please note that all arriving foreigners are required to exchange USD 50 to Somaliland Shilling. Tickets can be reserved at the site of Daallo Airlines[1]. You need a Somaliland visa to get in, Somali visas are not accepted. The only place to get a visa is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia or maybe at the London liaison office but Addis is preferred - see the Get in section of the Somaliland page for further information.

Get around

Hargeisa has a bus service. Hargeisa has working traffic lights and traffic laws are respected. All residents entitled to drive must hold a photo driving licence. All cars bear Somaliland licence plates.

Travel and Tour Agency

Dalxiis Tour and Travel Agency [2]


There is alot of things to do like going to the beach, or going out for a walk, maybe watch a little football in the cafe's.


There is rice, spaghetti, cheeseburgers or salad. There are even donuts, cakes and tropical food. Just hop into a restaurant and ask for what you desire. Just don't ask for pork because it is forbidden (haram).


You will not find any alcohol in Hargeisa.

  • Ambassador Hotel[3], Airport Road, Hargeisa (about 1,4 km from the airport), +252 21 38895, +252 25 26666, email: info@ambassadorhotelhargeisa.com. Classy and recommended. Features a fitness centre, a tennis court, swimming pool, internet and restaurants. Rooms from USD 35.
  • Maansoor Hotel[4], +252 225 3638, +252 225 3639, email: maansoorhotel@hotmail.com. Another elegant hotel, this one is closer to the city centre than the Ambassador. Singles USD 40, please note that only married couples are allowed to share rooms.
  • Red Sea Hotel Clean, new, and budget. No hot water. Located on a street parallel to Independence Road. 1/2 mile, exactly, from city center. Helpful owner will often personally drive guests around. 75 dongs/a day. (7 nights for the price of 6 enticement.)
  • Located in a countryside outside Hargeisa, Laas Gaal (Laas Geel in Somali) is a definite must-see. It is a complex of caves and rock shelters that contain excellently preserved cave paintings. The paintings represent some of the earliest known art in the Horn of Africa and the African continent, dating back to 9,000 B.C.
  • There's plenty of wildlife in the Sheikh mountains and the Daallo mountains near Hargeisa. You may spot Kudu, wildebeest, gazelles and different species of birds.
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