Cairo And Mogadishu

Publié le par salebatterymart

Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa. Its metropolitan area is the 16th largest in the world. Located near the Nile Delta, it was founded in 969 AD. Nicknamed "the city of a thousand minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life(SONY PCG-5G2L battery). Cairo was founded by the Fatimid dynasty in the 10th century AD, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo is also associated with Ancient Egypt due to its proximity to the ancient cities of Memphis, Giza and Fustat which are near the Great Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza(SONY PCG-5G3L battery).

Egyptians today often refer to Cairo as Maṣr ([mɑsˤɾ], مصر), the Egyptian Arabic pronunciation of the name for Egypt itself, emphasizing the city's continued role in Egyptian influence.[3][4] Its official name is القاهرة al-Qāhirah , means literally "the Vanquisher" or "the Conqueror"; Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [elqɑ(ː)ˈheɾˤɑ], sometimes it is informally also referred to as كايرو Kayro [ˈkæjɾo]. (SONY PCG-F305 battery) Cairo has the oldest and largest film and music industries in the Arab world, as well as the world's second-oldest institution of higher learning, al-Azhar University. Many international media, businesses, and organizations have regional headquarters in the city; the Arab League has had its headquarters in Cairo for most of its existence.

With a population of 6.76 million[6] spread over 453 square kilometers (175 sq mi) (SONY PCG-5J1L battery), Cairo is by far the largest city in Egypt. With an additional 10 million inhabitants just outside the city, Cairo resides at the centre of the largest metropolitan area in Africa and the Arab World as well as the tenth-largest urban area in the world.[7] Cairo, like many other mega-cities, suffers from high levels of pollution and traffic, but its metro — one of only two metros on the African continent (the other the Algiers Metro) (SONY PCG-5J2L battery) — ranks among the fifteen busiest in the world,[8][better source needed] with over 1 billion[9] annual passenger rides. The economy of Cairo was ranked first in the Middle East[10] and 43rd globally by Foreign Policy's 2010 Global Cities Index.

Initial settlements

A rendition of Fustat from A. S. Rappoport's History of Egypt

The area around present-day Cairo, especially Memphis, had long been a focal point of Ancient Egypt due to its strategic location just upstream from the Nile Delta(SONY PCG-5K2L battery). However, the origins of the modern city is generally traced back to a series of settlements in the first millennium. Around the turn of the 4th century,[12] as Memphis was continuing to decline in importance,[13] the Romans established a fortress town along the east bank of the Nile. This fortress, known as Babylon, remains the oldest structure in the city. It is also situated at the nucleus of Coptic Orthodox community, which separated from the Roman and Byzantine church in the late 4th century(SONY PCG-5L1L battery). Many of Cairo's oldest Coptic churches, including the Hanging Church, are located along the fortress walls in a section of the city known as Coptic Cairo.

Foundation and expansion

Further information: Egypt in the Middle Ages

Cairo map 1847

In 969 the Fatimids were led by General Gawhar al-Siqilli with his Kutama army, under the moral flagship of Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi, the Shiite Ismaili Imam of that time and ancestor of the current Aga Khan,[14] to establish a new capital for the Fatimid dynasty. Egypt was conquered from their base in Ifriqiya and a new fortified city northeast of Fustat was established(SONY PCG-6S2L battery). It took four years for Gawhar to build the city, initially known as al-Manṣūriyyah,[15] which was to serve as the new capital of the caliphate. During that time, Jawhar also commissioned the construction of al-Azhar Mosque, which developed into the third-oldest university in the world. Cairo would eventually become a centre of learning, with the library of Cairo containing hundreds of thousands of books. (SONY PCG-6S3L battery) When Caliph al-Mu'izz li Din Allah finally arrived from the old Fatimid capital of Mahdia in Tunisia in 973, he gave the city its present name, al-Qahira ("The Victorious").[15]

The Cairo Citadel, seen above in the late 19th century, was commissioned by Saladin between 1176 and 1183

For nearly 200 years after Cairo was established, the administrative centre of Egypt remained in Fustat. However, in 1168 the Fatimids under the leadership of Vizier Shawar set fire to Fustat to prevent Cairo's capture by the Crusaders. (SONY PCG-6V1L battery) Egypt's capital was permanently moved to Cairo, which was eventually expanded to include the ruins of Fustat and the previous capitals of al-Askar and al-Qatta'i. While the Fustat fire successfully protected the city of Cairo, a continuing power struggle between Shawar, King Amalric I of Jerusalem, and Zengid general Shirkuh led to the downfall of the Fatimid establishment. (SONY PCG-6W1L battery)

In 1169 Saladin was appointed as the new vizier of Egypt by the Fatimids and two years later he would seize power from the family of the last Fatimid caliph, al-'Āḍid.[19] As the first Sultan of Egypt, Saladin established the Ayyubid dynasty, based in Cairo, and aligned Egypt with the Abbasids, who were based in Baghdad.[20] During his reign, Saladin also constructed the Cairo Citadel, which served as the seat of the Egyptian government until the mid-19th century(SONY PCG-7111L battery).

In 1250 slave soldiers, known as the Mamluks, seized control of Egypt and like many of their predecessors established Cairo as the capital of their new dynasty. Continuing a practice started by the Ayyubids, much of the land occupied by former Fatimid palaces was sold and replaced by newer buildings. (SONY PCG-71511M battery) Construction projects initiated by the Mamluks pushed the city outward while also bringing new infrastructure to the centre of the city.[22] Meanwhile, Cairo flourished as a centre of Islamic scholarship and a crossroads on the spice trade route among the civilizations in Afro-Eurasia. By 1340, Cairo had a population of close to half a million, making it the largest city west of China. (SONY PCG-6W3L battery)

Ottoman rule

Further information: History of Ottoman Egypt

See also: Muhammad Ali's seizure of power

Although Cairo avoided Europe's stagnation during the Late Middle Ages, it could not escape the Black Death, which struck the city more than fifty times between 1348 and 1517.[24] During its initial, and most deadly waves, approximately 200,000 people were killed by the plague,[25] and, by the 15th century, Cairo's population had been reduced to between 150,000 and 300,000. (SONY PCG-7113L battery) The city's status was further diminished after Vasco da Gama discovered a sea route around the Cape of Good Hope, thereby allowing spice traders to avoid Cairo.[23]

Cairo in the 19th century

Cairo's political influence diminished significantly after the Ottomans supplanted Mamluk power over Egypt in 1517. Ruling from Constantinople, Sultan Selim I relegated Egypt to a mere province, with Cairo as its capital.[27] For this reason, the history of Cairo during Ottoman times is often described as inconsequential(SONY PCG-7133L battery), especially in comparison to other time periods.[23][28][29] However, during the 16th and 17th centuries, Cairo remained an important economic and cultural centre. Although no longer on the spice route, the city facilitated the transportation of Yemeni coffee and Indian textiles, primarily to Anatolia, North Africa, and the Balkans. Cairene merchants were instrumental in bringing goods to the barren Hejaz, especially during the annual hajj to Mecca(SONY PCG-7Z1L battery). It was during this same period that al-Azhar University reached the predominance among Islamic schools that it continues to hold today; pilgrims on their way to hajj often attested to the superiority of the institution, which had become associated with Egypt's body of Islamic scholars.[33] By the 16th century, Cairo also had high-rise apartment buildings where the two lower floors were for commercial and storage purposes (SONY PCG-7Z2L battery)     and the multiple stories above them were rented out to tenants.[34]

Under the Ottomans, Cairo expanded south and west from its nucleus around the Citadel.[35] The city was the second-largest in the empire, behind only Constantinople, and, although migration was not the primary source of Cairo's growth, twenty percent of its population at the end of the 18th century consisted of religious minorities and foreigners from around the Mediterranean. (SONY PCG-8Y1L battery) Still, when Napoleon arrived in Cairo in 1798, the city's population was less than 300,000, forty percent lower than it was at the height of Mamluk—and Cairene—influence in the mid-14th century.

The French occupation was short-lived as British and Ottoman forces, including a sizable Albanian contingent, recaptured the country in 1801.[37] The British vacated Egypt two years later, leaving the Ottomans, the Albanians, and the long-weakened Mamluks jostling for control of the country. (SONY PCG-8Y2L battery)Continued civil war allowed an Albanian named Muhammad Ali Pasha to ascend to the role of commander and eventually, with the approval of the religious establishment, viceroy of Egypt in 1805.[40]

Further information: History of Egypt under the Muhammad Ali dynasty and History of modern Egypt

Until his death in 1848, Muhammad Ali Pasha instituted a number of social and economic reforms that earned him the title of founder of modern Egypt. (SONY PCG-8Z2L battery) However, while Muhammad Ali initiated the construction of public buildings in the city,[43] those reforms had minimal effect on Cairo's landscape.[44] Bigger changes came to Cairo under Isma'il Pasha (r. 1863–1879), who continued the modernization processes started by his grandfather. Drawing inspiration from Paris, Isma'il environs a city of maidans and wide avenues(SONY PCG-8Z1L battery); due to financial constraints, only some of them, in the area now composing Downtown Cairo, came to fruition.[45] Isma'il also sought to modernize the city, which was merging with neighboring settlements, by establishing a public works ministry, bringing gas and lighting to the city, and opening a theater and opera house.

Cairo - the world's sixteenth most populous city(SONY PCG-7112L battery)

Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo

The immense debt resulting from Isma'il's projects provided a pretext for increasing European control, which culminated with the British invasion in 1882.[23] The city's economic centre quickly moved west toward the Nile, away from the historic Islamic Cairo section and toward the contemporary, European-style areas built by Isma'il. (SONY PCG-6W2L battery)Europeans accounted for five percent of Cairo's population at the end of the 19th century, by which point they held most top governmental positions.[50]

Nile view of Grand Hyatt Cairo at night

The British occupation was intended to be temporary, but it lasted well into the 20th century. Nationalists staged large-scale demonstrations in Cairo in 1919,[23] five years after Egypt had been declared a British protectorate.[51] Nevertheless, while this led to Egypt's independence in 1922, British troops remained in the country until 1956(SONY PCG-5K1L battery). During this time, urban Cairo, spurred by new bridges and transport links, continued to expand to include the upscale neighborhoods of Garden City, Zamalek, and Heliopolis.[52] Between 1882 and 1937, the population of Cairo more than tripled – from 347,000 to 1.3 million[53] – and its area increased from 10 square kilometres (4 sq mi) to 163 square kilometres (63 sq mi). (SONY VGP-BPS9/S battery)

The city was devastated during the 1952 Cairo Fire, also known as Black Saturday, which saw the destruction of nearly 700 shops, movie theatres, casinos and hotels in Downtown Cairo.[55] The British departed Cairo following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, but the city's rapid growth showed no signs of abating. Seeking to accommodate the increasing population, President Gamal Abdel Nasser redeveloped Midan Tahrir and the Nile Corniche(SONY VGP-BPS9A battery), and improved the city's network of bridges and highways.[56] Meanwhile, additional controls of the Nile fostered development within Gezira Island and along the city's waterfront. The metropolis began to encroach on the fertile Nile Delta, prompting the government to build desert satellite towns and devise incentives for city-dwellers to move to them. (SONY VGP-BPS9A/B battery)

Despite these efforts, Cairo's population has doubled since the 1960s, reaching close to seven million (with an additional ten million in its urban area). Concurrently, Cairo has established itself as a political and economic hub for North Africa and the Arab World, with many multinational businesses and organizations, including the Arab League, operating out of the city(SONY VGP-BPS9/B battery).

In 1992, Cairo was hit by a damaging earthquake, that caused 545 deaths, 6512 injuries and left 50,000 people homeless.[58]

Cairo during 2011 Egyptian revolution

Main article: 2011 Egyptian Revolution

A protester holding an Egyptian flag during the protests that started on 25 January 2011

Demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square on 8 February 2011

Cairo's Tahrir Square was the focal point of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution against former president Hosni Mubarak.[59] Over 2 million protesters at Cairo's Tahrir square(SONY VGP-BPS9A/S battery). More than 50,000 protesters first occupied the square on 25 January, during which the area's wireless services were reported to be impaired.[60] In the following days Tahrir Square continued to be the primary destination for protests in Cairo.[61] as it took place following a popular uprising that began on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 and is still continuing as of February 2012(SONY VGP-BPL9 battery). The uprising was mainly a campaign of non-violent civil resistance, which featured a series of demonstrations, marches, acts of civil disobedience, and labour strikes. Millions of protesters from a variety of socio-economic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Despite being predominantly peaceful in nature(SONY VGP-BPS10 battery), the revolution was not without violent clashes between security forces and protesters, with at least 846 people killed and 6,000 injured. The uprising took place in Cairo, Alexandria, and in other cities in Egypt, following the Tunisian revolution that resulted in the overthrow of the long-time Tunisian president. On 11 February, following weeks of determined popular protest and pressure, Mubarak resigned from office(SONY VGP-BPL10 battery).

Satellite cities

6th of October City, west of Cairo, and New Cairo, east of Cairo, are major urban developments which have been built to accommodate additional growth and development of the Cairo area.[62] New development includes several high-end residential developments.[63]

Astronaut view of Cairo

Cairo's focal point, the Nile, adjacent to the European-inspired districts near the city's centre

The river Nile flows through Cairo, here contrasting ancient customs of daily life with the modern city of today(SONY VGP-BPS11 battery)

Cairo is located in northern Egypt, known as Lower Egypt, 165 kilometres (100 mi) south of the Mediterranean Sea and 120 kilometres (75 mi) west of the Gulf of Suez and Suez Canal.[64] The city is along the Nile River, immediately south of the point where the river leaves its desert-bound valley and branches into the low-lying Nile Delta region(SONY VGP-BPL11 battery). Although the Cairo metropolis extends away from the Nile in all directions, the city of Cairo resides only on the east bank of the river and two islands within it on a total area of 453 square kilometres (175 sq mi).

Until the mid-19th century, when the river was tamed by dams, levees, and other controls, the Nile in the vicinity of Cairo was highly susceptible to changes in course and surface level(SONY VGP-BPL12 battery). Over the years, the Nile gradually shifted westward, providing the site between the eastern edge of the river and the Mokattam highlands on which the city now stands. The land on which Cairo was established in 969 (present-day Islamic Cairo) was located underwater just over three hundred years earlier, when Fustat was first built.[67]

Low periods of the Nile during the 11th century continued to add to the landscape of Cairo; a new island, known as Geziret al-Fil(SONY VGP-BPS12 battery), first appeared in 1174, but eventually became connected to the mainland. Today, the site of Geziret al-Fil is occupied by the Shubra district. The low periods created another island at the turn of the 14th century that now composes Zamalek and Gezira. Land reclamation efforts by the Mamluks and Ottomans further contributed to expansion on the east bank of the river. (SONY VGP-BPS13 battery)

The streets of Islamic Cairo, adorned by Islamic architecture, are narrower and older than those in the city centre

Because of the Nile's movement, the newer parts of the city – Garden City, Downtown Cairo, and Zamalek – are located closest to the riverbank.[69] The areas, which are home to most of Cairo's embassies, are surrounded on the north, east, and south by the older parts of the city(SONY VGP-BPS13Q battery). Old Cairo, located south of the centre, holds the remnants of Fustat and the heart of Egypt's Coptic Christian community, Coptic Cairo. The Boulaq district, which lies in the northern part of the city, was born out of a major 16th-century port and is now a major industrial centrer. The Citadel is located east of the city centre around Islamic Cairo, which dates back to the Fatimid era and the foundation of Cairo(SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q battery). While western Cairo is dominated by wide boulevards, open spaces, and modern architecture of European influence, the eastern half, having grown haphazardly over the centuries, is dominated by small lanes, crowded tenements, and Islamic architecture.

Northern and extreme eastern parts of Cairo, which include satellite towns, are among the most recent additions to the city, as they developed in the late-20th and early-21st centuries to accommodate the city's rapid growth(SONY VGP-BPS13B/Q battery). The western bank of the Nile is commonly included within the urban area of Cairo, but it composes the city of Giza and the Giza Governorate. Giza has also undergone significant expansion over recent years, and today the city, although still a suburb of Cairo, has a population of 2.7 million.[66] The Cairo Governorate was just north of the Helwan Governorate from 2008 when some Cairo's southern districts(SONY VGP-BPS13/B battery), including Maadi and New Cairo, were split off and annexed into the new governorate,[70] to 2011 when the Helwan Governorate was reincorporated into the Cairo Governorate.

A panorama of the Nile showing Cairo tower in the middle and two major bridges on the far right and left

In Cairo, and along the Nile River Valley, the climate is a desert climate (BWh according to the Köppen climate classification system[71]) (SONY VGP-BPS13B/B battery), but often with high humidity due to the river valley's effects. Wind storms can be frequent, bringing Saharan dust into the city during the months of March and April. High temperatures in winter range from 19 °C (66 °F) to 29 °C (84 °F), while night-time lows drop to below 11 °C (52 °F), often to 5 °C (41 °F). In summer, the highs rarely surpass 40 °C (104 °F), and lows drop to about 20 °C (68 °F) (SONY VGP-BPS13A/S battery). Rainfall is sparse, but sudden showers do cause harsh flooding. In New Cairo, a place of higher elevation than Downtown Cairo, the temperatures often drop below zero during winter causing morning frost.

See also: List of hospitals in Egypt

Cairo, as well as neighboring, has been established as Egypt's main center for medical treatment, and despite some exceptions, has the most advanced level of medical care in the country(SONY VGP-BPS21A/B battery). Cairo's hospitals include the JCI-accredited As-Salaam International Hospital - Corniche El Nile, Maadi (Egypt's largest private hospital with 350 beds), Ain Shams University Hospital, Dar El Fouad Hospital, as well as Kasr El Aini Hospital.


Cairo has long been the hub of education and educational services for Egypt and the region. Today, Cairo is the centre for many government offices governing the Egyptian educational system, has the largest number of educational schools(SONY VGP-BPS21B battery), and higher learning institutes among other cities and governorates of Egypt.

Cairo has an extensive road network, rail system, subway system, and maritime services. Road transport is facilitated by personal vehicles, taxi cabs, privately owned public buses, and Cairo microbuses. Cairo, specifically Ramses Square, is the centre of almost the entire Egyptian transportation network. (SONY VGP-BPS21 battery)

The subway system, officially called "Metro (مترو)", is a fast and efficient way of getting around Cairo. It can get very crowded during rush hour. Two train cars (the fourth and fifth ones) are reserved for women only, although women may ride in any car they want.

An extensive road network connects Cairo with other Egyptian cities and villages. There is a new Ring Road that surrounds the outskirts of the city(SONY VGP-BPS21/S battery), with exits that reach outer Cairo districts. There are flyovers and bridges, such as the Sixth of October bridge that, when the traffic is not heavy, allow fast [74] means of transportation from one side of the city to the other.

Cairo traffic is known to be overwhelming and overcrowded.[75] Traffic moves at a relatively fluid pace. Drivers tend to be aggressive, but are more courteous at intersections, taking turns going, with police aiding in traffic control of some congested areas. (SONY VGP-BPS13AS battery)

On 25 October 2009 a passenger train ran into another one near Giza, just outside Cairo.[76] Local news agencies reported at least 25 people dead.[77] A local resident, Samhi Saleh Abdel Al, told reporters that "the first train stopped after hitting a cow and 10 minutes later the second train arrived at full speed."[78] One of the two trains was travelling from Cairo to Assiut, while the other was said to have been en-route to Fayoum from Giza. (SONY VGP-BPS13S battery)Around 55 people were injured.

Cairo International Stadium with 75,100 seats

Real Football Soccer is the most popular sport in Egypt, and Cairo has a number of sporting teams that compete in national and regional leagues. The best known teams are Al-Ahly and El Zamalek, whose annual football tournament is perhaps the most watched sports event in Egypt as well as the African-Arab region(SONY VGP-BPS13B/S battery). Both teams are known as the "rivals" of Egyptian football, and are the first and the second champions in Africa and the Arab World. They play their home games at Cairo International Stadium or Naser Stadium, which is Egypt's 2nd largest stadium, Cairo's largest one and one of the largest stadiums in the world.

The Cairo International Stadium was built in 1960 and its multi-purpose sports complex that houses the main football stadium, an indoor stadium(SONY VGP-BPS13B/G battery), several satellite fields that held several regional, continental and global games, including the African Games, U17 Football World Championship and was one of the stadiums scheduled that hosted the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations which was played in January 2006. Egypt later won the competition and went on to win the next edition In Ghana (2008) making the Egyptian and Ghanaian national teams the only teams to win the African Nations (SONY VGP-BPS14 battery)Cup Back to back which resulted in Egypt winning the title for a record number of six times in the history of African Continental Competition. This was followed by a third consecutive win in Angola 2010, making Egypt the only country with a record 3-consecutive and 7-total Continental Football Competition winner. This achievement had also placed the Egyptian football team as the #12 best team in the world's FIFA rankings(SONY VGP-BPL14 battery).

Cairo failed at the applicant stage when bidding for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, which was hosted in Beijing, China. However, Cairo did host the 2007 Pan Arab Games.

There are several other sports teams in the city that participate in several sports including el Gezira Sporting Club, el Shams Club, el Seid Club, Heliopolis Club and several smaller clubs, but the biggest clubs in Egypt (not in area but in sports) are Al Ahly and Al Zamalek. They have the two biggest football teams in Egypt(SONY VGP-BPS14/B battery).

Most of the sports federations of the country are also located in the city suburbs, including the Egyptian Football Association. The headquarters of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) was previously located in Cairo, before relocating to its new headquarters in 6 October City, a small city away from Cairo's crowded districts(SONY VGP-BPS14/S battery).

On October 2008, the Egyptian Rugby Federation was officially formed and granted membership into the International Rugby Board.

Egypt is internationally known for the excellence of its squash players who excel in both professional and junior divisions. Gizira Club in Zamalek is where former world #1 Amr Shabana and former world #1 Karim Darwish practice. The Heliopolis Club in Heliopolis is the home of current world #1 Ramy Ashour and his brother, world #24, Hisham Ashour(SONY VGP-BPS14B battery). Other major squash-playing venues are The Shooting Club (Nadi el Seid) in Dokki, The Maadi Club in Maadi and Wadi Degla in Degla.

Over the ages, and as far back as four thousand years, Egypt stood as the land where many civilizations have met. The Pharaohs together with the Greeks, Babylonians and the Romans have left their imprints here(SONY VGP-BPS22 battery). Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula, led by Amr ibn al-A'as, introduced Islam into Egypt. Khedive Mohammad Ali, with his Albanian family roots, put Egypt on the road to modernity. The cultural mixture in this city is only natural, considering its heritage. Egypt can be likened to an open museum with monuments of the different historical periods on display everywhere(SONY VGP-BPS22 battery).

Cairo Opera House

Main article: Cairo Opera House

President Mubarak inaugurated the new Cairo Opera House of the Egyptian National Cultural Centres on 10 October 1988, 17 years after the Royal Opera House had been destroyed by fire. The National Cultural Centre was built with the help of JICA, the Japan International Co-operation Agency and stands as a prominent feature for the Japanese-Egyptian co-operation and the friendship between these two nations(SONY VGP-BPS18 battery). Arigiculture is an important encinomic activity in Egypt's Nile Valley and Dela region.

Khedivial Opera House

Main article: Khedivial Opera House

Khedivial Opera House 1869

The Khedivial Opera House or Royal Opera House was the original opera house in Cairo, Egypt. It was dedicated on 1 November 1869 and burned down on 28 October 1971. After the original opera house was destroyed, Cairo was without an opera house for nearly two decades until the opening of the new Cairo Opera House in 1988(SONY VGP-BPS22/A battery).

[edit]Cairo International Film Festival

Main article: Cairo International Film Festival

Egypt's love of the arts in general can be traced back to the rich heritage bequeathed by the Pharaohs. In modern times, Egypt has enjoyed a strong cinematic tradition since the art of filmmaking was first developed, early in the 20th century. A natural progression from the active theatre scene of the time, cinema rapidly evolved into a vast motion picture industry(SONY VGP-BPS22A battery). This together with the much older music tradition, raised Egypt to become Hollywood Middle East and the cultural capital of the Arab world.

For more than 500 years of recorded history, Egypt has fascinated the West and inspired its creative talents from play writer William Shakespeare, poet and dramatist John Dryden, and novelist and poet Lawrence Durrell to film producer Cecil B. DeMille(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11S battery). Since the silent movies Hollywood has been capitalising on the box-office returns that come from combining Egyptian stories with visual effects.

Egypt has also been a fount of Arabic literature, producing some of the 20th century's greatest Arab writers such as Taha Hussein and Tawfiq al-Hakim to Nobel Laureate, novelist Naguib Mahfouz. Each of them has written for the cinema(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15T battery).

With these credentials, it was clear that Cairo should aim to hold an international film festival. This dream came true on Monday 16 August 1976, when the first Cairo International Film Festival was launched by the Egyptian Association of Film Writers and Critics, headed by Kamal El-Mallakh. The Association ran the festival for seven years until 1983(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15G battery).

This achievement lead to the President of the Festival again contacting the FIAPF with the request that a competition should be included at the 1991 Festival. The request was granted.

In 1998, the Festival took place under the presidency of one of Egypt's leading actors, Hussein Fahmy, who was appointed by the Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosni, after the death of Saad El-Din Wahba(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ4000 battery).

Four years later, the journalist and writer Cherif El-Shoubashy became president.

For 33 years The International Festival has awarded dozens of international superstars, including John Malkovich, Nicolas Cage, Morgan Freeman, Bud Spencer, Gina Lollobrigida, Ornella Muti, Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale, Victoria Abril, Elizabeth Taylor, Shashi Kapoor, Alain Delon, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Susan Sarandon, Greta Scacchi, Catherine Deneuve(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ460E battery), Peter O'Toole, Charlize Theron, Julia Ormond, Mira Sorvino, Stuart Townsend, Alicia Silverstone, Priscilla Presley, Christopher Lee, Irene Papas, Marcello Mastroianni, Salma Hayek, Lucy Liu, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Berenger and Omar Sharif, as well as directors like Robert Wise, Elia Kazan, Vanessa Redgrave, Oliver Stone, Roland Joffé, Carlos Saura, Ismail Merchant and Michelangelo Antonioni(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ440N battery), in an annual celebration and examination of the state of cinema in the world today. The presidents of the Festival since it was founded in 1976 are Saad El-Din Wahba, Hussein Fahmy and Sherif El Shoubashy. This year the festival a milestone of 30 years in an annual celebration and examination of the state of cinema in the world today(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ440E battery).

Main article: Cairo Geniza

Solomon Schechter studying documents from the Cairo Geniza, c. 1895

The Cairo Geniza is an accumulation of almost 200,000 Jewish manuscripts that were found in the genizah of the Ben Ezra synagogue (built 882) of Fostat, Egypt (now Old Cairo), the Basatin cemetery east of Old Cairo, and a number of old documents that were bought in Cairo in the later 19th century. These documents were written from about 870 to as late as 1880 AD(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11L battery) and have now been archived in various American and European libraries. The Taylor-Schechter collection in the University of Cambridge runs to 140,000 manuscripts, a further 40,000 manuscripts are at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Most residents are Sunni Muslim. Al-Azhar University is the leading authority of Sunni Islam. The number of mosques in the city is growing. Most Christians are Copts(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11Z battery). Until his death in March 2012, Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria was the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, whose residence is in Cairo. Cairo has several synagogues, but only few Jews remain after Israel was established, and persecution intensified. Tension between members of different religions has increased recently.[81]

Old buildings in Downtown Cairo. In the centre is the statue of Talaat Pasha Harb, the father of the modern Egyptian economy(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11M battery)

Cairo is also in every respect the centre of Egypt, as it has been almost since its founding in 969 AD. The majority of the nation's commerce is generated there, or passes through the city. The great majority of publishing houses and media outlets and nearly all film studios are there, as are half of the nation's hospital beds and universities. This has fueled rapid construction in the city—one building in five is less than 15 years old(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18M battery).

This astonishing growth until recently surged well ahead of city services. Homes, roads, electricity, telephone and sewer services were all suddenly in short supply. Analysts trying to grasp the magnitude of the change coined terms like "hyper-urbanization".

Main sights

For a complete list, see Visitor attractions in Cairo, list of mosques

[edit]Tahrir Square(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18 battery)

Main article: Tahrir Square

Tahrir Square was founded during the mid 19th century with the establishment of modern downtown Cairo. It was first named Ismailia Square, after the 19th-century ruler Khedive Ismail, who commissioned the new downtown district's 'Paris on the Nile' design. After the Egyptian Revolution of 1919 the square became widely known as Tahrir (Liberation) Square(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ210CE battery). Several notable buildings surround the square including, the American University in Cairo's downtown campus, the Mogamma governmental administrative Building, the headquarters of the Arab League, the Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel, and the Egyptian Museum. Being at the heart of Cairo, the square witnessed several major protests over the years. However, the most notable event in the square was being the focal point of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution against former president Hosni Mubarak(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31S battery).

Tahrir Square was not renamed after the 1919 Egyptian Revolution but was renamed after the 1952 Revolution by Nasser.

The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum, is home to the most extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities in the world. It has 136,000 items on display, with many more hundreds of thousands in its basement storerooms(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31Z battery).

[edit]Khan El-Khalili

Main article: Khan El-Khalili

Khan el-Khalili is an ancient bazaar, or marketplace. It dates back to 1382, when Emir Djaharks el-Khalili built a large caravanserai, or khan. A caravanserai is a hotel for traders, and usually the focal point for any surrounding area. The caravanserai remains today.

Main article: Old Cairo(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31E battery)

The part of Cairo that contains Coptic Cairo and Fustat, where the Coptic Museum, Babylon Fortress, Hanging Church, the Greek Church of St. George, the Ben Ezra Synagogue, the Amr ibn al-'As Mosque, etc. are located.

Main article: Cairo Tower

The Cairo Tower is a free-standing concrete TV tower in Cairo. It stands in the Zamalek district on Gezira Island in the Nile River, in the city centre. At 187 meters, it is 43 meters higher than the Great Pyramid of Giza, which stands some 15 km to the southwest(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31J battery).

Al Qahira Fatimia Mosques

Al-Azhar Mosque

Main article: Al-Azhar Mosque

Established in 972, Al-Azhar mosque was historically the site of the renowned Al-Azhar University, until the university's move in the late 20th century to a new campus in Nasr City.


Cairo is an expanding city, which has led to many environmental problems. The air pollution in Cairo is a matter of serious concern. Greater Cairo's volatile aromatic hydrocarbon levels are higher than many other similar cities. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31M battery) Air quality measurements in Cairo have also been recording dangerous levels of lead, carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and suspended particulate matter concentrations due to decades of unregulated vehicle emissions, urban industrial operations, and chaff and trash burning. There are over 4,500,000 cars on the streets of Cairo, 60% of which are over 10 years old(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31B battery), and therefore lack modern emission cutting features like catalytic converters. Cairo has a very poor dispersion factor because of lack of rain and its layout of tall buildings and narrow streets, which create a bowl effect. In recent years, a mysterious black cloud (as Egyptians refer to it) appeared over Cairo every fall and causes serious respiratory diseases and eye irritations for the city's citizens. Tourists who are not familiar with such high levels of pollution must take extra care. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ32 battery)

Cairo also has many unregistered lead and copper smelters which heavily pollute the city. The results of this has been a permanent haze over the city with particulate matter in the air reaching over three times normal levels. It is estimated that 10,000 to 25,000 people a year in Cairo die due to air pollution-related diseases. Lead has been shown to cause harm to the central nervous system and neurotoxicity particularly in children. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21 battery) In 1995, the first environmental acts were introduced and the situation has seen some improvement with 36 air monitoring stations and emissions tests on cars. 20,000 buses have also been commissioned to the city to improve congestion levels, which are very high.

The city also suffers from a high level of land pollution. Cairo produces 10,000 tons of waste material each day, 4,000 tons of which is not collected or managed(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21S battery). This once again is a huge health hazard and the Egyptian Government is looking for ways to combat this. The Cairo Cleaning and Beautification Agency was founded to collect and recycle the waste; however, they also work with the Zabbaleen (or Zabaleen), a community that has been collecting and recycling Cairo's waste since the turn of the 20th century and live in an area known locally as Manshiyat naser.[92] Both are working together to pick up as much waste as possible within the city limits, though it remains a pressing problem(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21M battery).

The city also suffers from water pollution as the sewer system tends to fail and overflow. On occasion, sewage has escaped onto the streets to create a health hazard. This problem is hoped to be solved by a new sewer system funded by the European Union, which could cope with the demand of the city. The dangerously high levels of mercury in the city's water system has global health officials concerned over related health risks(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ38M battery). There is also more concern about environmental issues among Egyptians than before. There is now general awareness and some projects are laid down to help make the public aware of the importance of a clean environment.

Mogadishu ( /ˌmɒɡəˈdɪʃuː/; Somali: Muqdisho; Arabic: مقديشو‎ Maqadīshū; literally "The Seat of the Shah"), popularly known as Xamar,[1] is the largest city in Somalia and the nation's capital. Located in the coastal Benadir region on the Indian Ocean, the city has served as an important port for centuries(Sony VGN-NR11S/S Battery).

Tradition and old records assert that southern Somalia, including the Mogadishu area, was historically inhabited by hunter-gatherers of Bushman physical stock. These were later joined by Cushitic agro-pastoralists, who would go on to establish local aristocracies.[4][5] Starting in the late 9th or 10th centuries, Arab and Persian traders also began to settle in the region. (Sony VGN-NR11M/S Battery)

During its medieval Golden Age, Mogadishu was ruled by the Somali-Arab Muzaffar dynasty, a vassal of the Ajuuraan State.[7] It subsequently fell under the control of an assortment of local Sultanates and polities, most notably the Gobroon Dynasty.[8] The city later became the capital of Italian Somaliland in the colonial period(Sony VGN-NR260E/S Battery).

After the ousting of the Siad Barre regime and the ensuing civil war, various militias fought for control of the city, later to be replaced by the Islamic Courts Union. The ICU subsequently splintered into more radical groups, notably Al Shabaab, which have since been fighting the Transitional Federal Government and its AMISOM allies. With a change in administration in late 2010(Sony VGN-NR11Z/S Battery), federal control of Mogadishu steadily expanded. The pace of territorial gains also greatly accelerated, as more trained government and AMISOM troops entered the city. In early August 2011, government troops and their AMISOM partners had reportedly succeeded in forcing out Al-Shabaab from the parts of the city that the group had previously controlled.[9] Mogadishu has subsequently experienced a period of intense reconstruction(Sony VGN-NR11Z/T Battery).

The name Mogadishu is held to be derived from the Persian مقعد شاه Maq'ad-i-Shah ("The seat of the Shah"), a reflection of the city's early Persian influence.[11]

Main article: History of Mogadishu

Engraving of the 13th century Fakr ad-Din Mosque built by Fakr ad-Din, the first Sultan of the Sultanate of Mogadishu.

Tradition and old records assert that southern Somalia, including the Mogadishu area, was inhabited in early historic times by hunter-gatherers of Bushman stock(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21E battery). Although most of these early inhabitants are believed to have been either overwhelmed, driven away or, in some cases, assimilated by later migrants to the area, physical traces of their occupation survive in certain ethnic minority groups inhabiting modern-day Jubaland and other parts of the south. The latter descendants include relict populations such as the Eile, the Wa-Ribi, and especially the Wa-Boni(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21Z battery). By the time of the arrival of peoples from the Cushitic Rahanweyn or Digil and Mirifle clan confederacy, who would go on to establish a local aristocracy, other Cushitic groups affiliated with the Oromo (Wardai) and Ajuuraan (Ma'adanle) had already formed settlements of their own in the sub-region(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21J battery).

According to the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, a Greek travel document dating from the turn of the Common Era, maritime trade already connected peoples in the Mogadishu area with other communities along the Indian Ocean coast.

Flag of the Ajuuraan State, a Somali empire of which medieval Mogadishu was an important vassal(Sony VAIO VGN-FW11 battery).

The Sultanate of Mogadishu later developed with the immigration of Emozeidi Arabs, a community whose earliest presence dates back to the 9th or 10th century.[6] This evolved into the Muzaffar dynasty, a joint Somali-Arab federation of rulers, and Mogadishu became closely linked with the powerful Somali Ajuuraan State. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW11M battery)

Following his visit to the city, the 12th century Syrian historian Yaqut al-Hamawi wrote that it was inhabited by dark-skinned Berbers, the ancestors of the modern Somalis.[12][13]

For many years, Mogadishu stood as the pre-eminent city in the بلاد البربر Bilad-ul-Barbar ("Land of the Berbers"), which was the medieval Arabic term for the Horn of Africa.

By the time of the Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta's appearance on the Somali coast in 1331, the city was at the zenith of its prosperity(Sony VAIO VGN-FW11S battery). He described Mogadishu as "an exceedingly large city" with many rich merchants, which was famous for its high quality fabric that it exported to Egypt, among other places.[17][18] He added that the city was ruled by a Somali Sultan originally from Berbera in northern Somalia who spoke both Somali (referred to by Battuta as Mogadishan, the Benadir dialect of Somali) and Arabic with equal fluency.[19][20] The Sultan also had a retinue of wazirs (ministers) (Sony VAIO VGN-FW21E battery), legal experts, commanders, royal eunuchs, and other officials at his beck and call.[19]

The Portuguese would later attempt to occupy the city, but never managed to take it. The Hawiye Somali, however, were successful in defeating the Ajuuraan State and bringing about the end of Muzaffar rule.[7]


Downtown Mogadishu in 1936. Arba Rucun mosque to the centre right(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21J battery).

By 1892, Mogadishu was under the joint control of the Somali Geledi Sultanate (which, also holding sway over the Shebelle region in the interior, was at the height of its power) and the Arab Sultan of Zanzibar.[8]

In 1892, Ali bin Said leased the city to Italy. Italy purchased the city in 1905 and made Mogadishu the capital of the newly established Italian Somaliland. After World War I, the surrounding territory came under Italian control with some resistance(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21L battery).

Thousands of Italian colonists moved to live in Mogadishu and founded small manufacturing companies. They also developed some agricultural areas around the capital such as the Villaggio duca degli Abruzzi and the Genale.[21]

In the 1930s, new buildings and avenues were built. A 114 km narrow-gauge railway was laid from Mogadishu to Jowhar, then called "Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi". An asphalted road, the Strada Imperiale, was also constructed, intended to link Mogadishu to Addis Ababa(Sony VAIO VGN-FW41M battery).

Mogadishu would remain the capital of Italian Somaliland throughout its existence.

An avenue in Mogadishu in 1963.

British Somaliland became independent on 26 June 1960 as the State of Somaliland, and the Trust Territory of Somalia (the former Italian Somaliland) followed suit five days later.[22] On July 1, 1960, the two territories united to form the Somali Republic, with Mogadishu serving as the nation's capital(Sony VAIO VGN-FW41M/H battery). A government was formed by Abdullahi Issa and other members of the trusteeship and protectorate governments, with Haji Bashir Ismail Yusuf as President of the Somali National Assembly, Aden Abdullah Osman Daar as President of the Somali Republic and Abdirashid Ali Shermarke as Prime Minister (later to become President from 1967–1969). On 20 July 1961 and through a popular referendum, the people of Somalia ratified a new constitution, which was first drafted in 1960. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW21M battery) In 1967, Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal became Prime Minister, a position to which he was appointed by Shermarke.

On 15 October 1969, while paying a visit to the northern town of Las Anod, Somalia's then President Abdirashid Ali Shermarke was shot dead by one of his own bodyguards. His assassination was quickly followed by a military coup d'état on 21 October 1969 (the day after his funeral), in which the Somali Army seized power without encountering armed opposition(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21Z battery) — essentially a bloodless takeover. The putsch was spearheaded by Major General Mohamed Siad Barre, who at the time commanded the army.[24]

Metropolitan Mogadishu in the 1980s.

Alongside Barre, the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) that assumed power after President Sharmarke's assassination was led by Lieutenant Colonel Salaad Gabeyre Kediye and Chief of Police Jama Korshel. Kediye officially held the title of "Father of the Revolution," and Barre shortly afterwards became the head of the SRC. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW32J battery) The SRC subsequently renamed the country the Somali Democratic Republic,[26][27] arrested members of the former civilian government, banned political parties,[28] dissolved the parliament and the Supreme Court, and suspended the constitution.[29]

The revolutionary army established various large-scale public works programs, including the Mogadishu Stadium. In addition to a nationalization program of industry and land(Sony VAIO VGN-FW17W battery), the Mogadishu-based new regime's foreign policy placed an emphasis on Somalia's traditional and religious links with the Arab world, eventually joining the Arab League (AL) in 1974.[30]

After fallout from the unsuccessful Ogaden campaign of the late 1970s, the Barre administration began arresting government and military officials under suspicion of participation in the abortive 1978 coup d'état(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31E battery). Most of the people who had allegedly helped plot the putsch were summarily executed.[33] However, several officials managed to escape abroad and started to form the first of various dissident groups dedicated to ousting Barre's regime by force.[34]

Main article: Somali Civil War

By the late 1980s, the moral authority of Barre's regime had collapsed. The authorities became increasingly totalitarian, and resistance movements, encouraged by Ethiopia's communist Derg administration, sprang up across the country(Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E battery). This eventually led in 1991 to the outbreak of the civil war, the toppling of Barre's government, and the disbandment of the Somali National Army (SNA). Many of the opposition groups subsequently began competing for influence in the power vacuum that followed the ouster of Barre's regime. Armed factions led by USC commanders General Mohamed Farah Aidid (Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E/H battery)and Ali Mahdi Mohamed, in particular, clashed as each sought to exert authority over the capital.[35]

A residential area of Mogadishu, with a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter in the foreground (1992).

UN Security Council Resolution 733 and UN Security Council Resolution 746 led to the creation of UNOSOM I, the first stabilization mission in Somalia after the dissolution of the central government. United Nations Security Council Resolution 794(">Sony VAIO VGN-FW31M battery) was unanimously passed on December 3, 1992, which approved a coalition of United Nations peacekeepers led by the United States. Forming the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the alliance was tasked with assuring security until humanitarian efforts were transferred to the UN. Landing in 1993, the UN peacekeeping coalition started the two-year United Nations Operation in Somalia II (UNOSOM II) primarily in the south. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW31J battery)

Some of the militias that were then competing for power interpreted the UN troops' presence as a threat to their hegemony. Consequently, several gun battles took place in Mogadishu between local gunmen and peacekeepers. Among these was the Battle of Mogadishu of 1993, an unsuccessful attempt by US troops to apprehend faction leader Aidid. The UN soldiers eventually withdrew altogether from the country on March 3, 1995(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31Z battery), having incurred more significant casualties.

In 2006, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), an Islamist organization, assumed control of much of the southern part of the country and promptly imposed Shari'a law. The new Transitional Federal Government (TFG), established two years earlier, sought to re-establish its authority. With the assistance of Ethiopian troops, AMISOM peacekeepers and air support by the United States(Sony VGN-NR11Z Battery), it managed to drive out the rival ICU and solidify its rule.[37] On 8 January 2007, as the Battle of Ras Kamboni raged, TFG President and founder Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, a former colonel in the Somali Army, entered Mogadishu for the first time since being elected to office. The government then relocated to Villa Somalia in Mogadishu from its interim location in Baidoa, marking the first time since the fall of the Barre regime in 1991 that the federal government controlled most of the country. (Sony VGN-NR11S Battery)

Former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo), head of the technocratic administration credited with having started the city's pacification, a process completed by his successor Abdiweli Mohamed Ali.

Following this defeat, the Islamic Courts Union splintered into several different factions. Some of the more radical elements, including Al-Shabaab, regrouped to continue their insurgency against the TFG and oppose the Ethiopian military's presence in Somalia(Sony VGN-NR110E Battery). Throughout 2007 and 2008, Al-Shabaab scored military victories, seizing control of key towns and ports in both central and southern Somalia. At the end of 2008, the group had captured Baidoa but not Mogadishu. By January 2009, Al-Shabaab and other militias had managed to force the Ethiopian troops to retreat, leaving behind an under-equipped African Union peacekeeping force to assist the Transitional Federal Government's troops. (Sony VGN-NR110E/T Battery)

Between May 31 and June 9, 2008, representatives of Somalia's federal government and the moderate Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) group of Islamist rebels participated in peace talks in Djibouti brokered by the UN. The conference ended with a signed agreement calling for the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops in exchange for the cessation of armed confrontation(Sony VGN-NR110E/S Battery). Parliament was subsequently expanded to 550 seats to accommodate ARS members, which then elected a new president.[40] With the help of a small team of African Union troops, the coalition government also began a counteroffensive in February 2009 to retake control of the southern half of the country. To solidify its control of southern Somalia, the TFG formed an alliance with the Islamic Courts Union, other members of the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia, and Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a, a moderate Sufi militia. (Sony VGN-CR11Z Battery)

In November 2010, a new technocratic government was elected to office, which enacted numerous reforms, especially in the security sector.[42] By August 2011, the new administration and its AMISOM allies had managed to capture all of Mogadishu from the Al-Shabaab militants.[9] Mogadishu has subsequently experienced a period of intense reconstruction spearheaded by the Somali diaspora, the municipal authorities and Turkey, an historic ally of Somalia. (Sony VGN-CR11S Battery)

Mogadishu is a multi-ethnic city. Its original core population consisted of Bushmen aboriginals, and later Cushitic, Arab and Persian migrants.[5][6] During the Arab slave trade, many Bantu peoples were brought in for agricultural work from the market in Zanzibar. The mixture of these various groups produced the Benadiri or Reer Xamar (“People of Mogadishu”) (Sony VGN-CR11M Battery), a composite population unique to the larger Benadir region.[44] In the colonial period, European expatriates, primarily Italians, would also contribute to the city's cosmopolitan populace.

The main area of inhabitation of Bantu ethnic minorities in Somalia has historically been in village enclaves in the south; particularly between the Jubba and Shebelle river valleys as well as the Bakool and Bay regions. Beginning in the 1970s, more Bantus began moving to urban centers such as Mogadishu and Kismayo. (Sony VGN-CR11E Battery) By the late 1980s, over 40 percent of Mogadishu's population consisted of individuals from ethnic minority groups.[46] The displacement caused by the onset of the civil war in the 1990s further increased the number of rural minorities migrating to urban areas. As a consequence of these movements, Mogadishu's traditional demographic makeup has changed significantly over the years. (Sony VGN-CR21E Battery)

Mogadishu as seen from the International Space Station

Mogadishu is located at 2°4′N 45°22′E. 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(Sony VGN-CR21S Battery).

Features of the city include the Hamarwein old town, the Bakaara Market, and the former resort of Gezira Beach. The sandy beaches of Mogadishu are reported by the few Western travelers to be among the most beautiful in the world, offering easy access to vibrant coral reefs.[47]

Administrative divisions

Location of the Banaadir administrative region (red).

Mogadishu is situated in Banaadir, an administrative region (gobolka) in southeastern Somalia.[48] The region itself is coextensive with the city and is much smaller than the historical province of Benadir(Sony VGN-CR21Z Battery).

Mogadishu is thus officially divided into the following administrative districts:

For a city situated so near the equator, Mogadishu has a dry climate. It is classified as hot and semi-arid (Köppen climate classification BSh). Much of the land the city lies upon is desert terrain. The city has a low annual rainfall of 427 millimetres (16.8 in), most which falls in the wet season. The rains are very variable from year to year, and drought is a constant problem for the people living in Somalia(Sony VGN-CR31S Battery).

Sunshine is abundant in the city, averaging eight to ten hours a day year-round. It is lowest during the wet season, when there is some coastal fog and greater cloud coverage as warm air passes over the cool sea surface.

A Coca-Cola bottling plant in Mogadishu.

Mogadishu traditionally served as a commercial and financial center. Before the introduction of mass-produced cloth from Europe and America(Sony VGN-CR31E Battery), the textiles of Mogadishu were forwarded far and wide throughout the interior of the continent, as well as to Arabia and even as far as the Persian coast.[52]

The economy has recovered somewhat from the civil unrest, faring relatively better than other Somali cities,[53] although the Somali Civil War still presents many problems. Hotels and other businesses have hired private security militias to provide protection and ensure the normal course of business. (Sony VGN-CR31Z Battery)

Principal industries include food and beverage processing and textiles, especially cotton ginning. The main market offers goods from food to electronic gadgets.

Hormuud Telecom, the largest telecommunications company in southern and central Somalia, has its headquarters in Mogadishu. Telcom is another telecommunications service provider based in the city(Sony VGN-CR41Z Battery).

Jubba Airways has its head office in Mogadishu.[54]

Roads leading out of Mogadishu connect the city to other localities in Somalia and to Ethiopia and Kenya. The city itself is cut into a several grid layouts by an extensive road network. Due to neglect brought on by the protracted civil war, there are few paved roads, but numerous unpaved and back streets throughout the city. (Sony VGN-CR41S Battery) The roads support the flow of both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. With the ouster of the Al-Shabaab rebels from the city in mid 2011, large-scale rehabilitation of roads and general infrastructure has begun.[56]

A Somali Airlines Boeing 707-338C in flight (1984). The Mogadishu-based national carrier is set to be relaunched.

During the post-independence period, Mogadishu International Airport offered flights to numerous global destinations. (Sony VGN-CR41E Battery)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.[58] By 1969, the airport's many landing grounds could also host small jets and DC 6B-type aircraft.[57]

The facility grew considerably in size in the post-independence period after numerous successive renovation projects. With the outbreak of the civil war in the early 1990s(Sony VGN-CR42Z Battery), 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 south of the capital, served as the capital's main airport while Mogadishu International Airport, now renamed Aden Adde International Airport, briefly shut down.[59] However, in the late 2010 period, the security situation in Mogadishu had significantly improved, with the federal government eventually managing to assume full control of the city by August of the following year. (Sony VGN-CR42S Battery)

In late 2010, SKA Air and Logistics, a Dubai-based aviation firm that specializes in conflict zones, was contracted by Somalia's Transitional Federal Government to manage operations over a period of ten years at the re-opened Aden Adde International Airport. With concurrent activities in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other complex areas, the company is expected to run security screening, passenger security and terminals(Sony VGN-CR42E Battery). SKA staff has also begun re-training Somalian airport personnel for the purpose. Although flights and other airport operations are presently limited to daylight hours, the firm is working on expanding activities once runway lighting and other features have been restored.[60]

The Port of Mogadishu serves as a major national seaport.

As of 2012, the largest services using Aden Adde International Airport include the Somali-owned private carriers Jubba Airways and Daallo Airlines, in addition to UN charter planes(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/L Battery), African Express Airways,[60] and Turkish Airlines.[61] The airport also offers flights to other Somalian cities such as Galkacyo, Berbera and Hargeisa, as well as international destinations like Djibouti, Jeddah,[62] and Istanbul.[61] In December 2011, the Turkish government unveiled plans to modernize the airport as part of Turkey's broader engagement in the local post-conflict reconstruction process(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/P Battery). Among the scheduled renovations are new systems and infrastructure, including a modern control tower to monitor the airspace.[61] 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. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/W Battery)

Mogadishu leads Somalia in port traffic and still serves as a major seaport. While daily shipments bring in vehicles, foodstuffs and electronic goods, among other items, the port's monthly tax revenue never exceeded $900,000 due to kickbacks. In 2010, a new government was appointed to office, which then re-shuffled the port authority's staff. Monthly revenue from the city's port subsequently rose to a record $2.5 million. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR11Z/R Battery)

There were projects during the 1980s to reactivate the 114 km railway between Mogadishu and Jowhar, built by the Italians in 1926 but dismantled in World War II by British troops. The Mogadishu-Villabruzzi Railway was planned in 1939 to reach Addis Ababa.

The Federal Government of Somalia has its seat in Mogadishu, the nation's capital.

Main article: Federal Government of Somalia(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/B Battery)

The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was the internationally recognized central government of Somalia between 2004 and 2012. Based in Mogadishu, it constituted the executive branch of government.

The Federal Government of Somalia was established on August 20, 2012, concurrent with the end of the TFG's interim mandate.[65] It represents the first permanent central government in the country since the start of the civil war. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/L Battery) The Federal Parliament of Somalia serves as the government's legislative branch.[66]

Mogadishu's municipal government is currently led by Mayor Mohamed Nur, a former Labour Party member and business advisor to Islington Council in London. Since taking office in 2010, Nur's administration has enacted a number of reforms in a bid to improve the city's security and service delivery, including starting a garbage collection program(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/P Battery), erecting proper streetlights and providing around-the-clock electricity, sacking corrupt public officials, and offering formal police protection. The municipal government has also firmed up on traffic safety, fining motorists who drive without lights, in the wrong street lanes or carrying excessive loads.[67]

The Hamar Jajab School in Mogadishu

Despite the civil unrest, Mogadishu counts several institutions of higher learning(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/R Battery). Mogadishu University (MU) is a non-governmental university that is governed by a Board of Trustees and a University Council. It is the brainchild of a number of professors from the Somali National University as well as other Somali intellectuals who sought to find ways to provide post-secondary education in the wake of the civil war. Financed by the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/W Battery), Saudi Arabia, as well as other donor institutions, the university counts hundreds of young Somali graduates from its seven faculties, some of whom continue on to pursue Master's degrees abroad thanks to a scholarship program. Mogadishu University has established partnerships with several other academic institutions, including the University of Aalborg in Denmark(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G Battery), three universities in Egypt, seven universities in Sudan, the University of Djibouti, and two universities in Yemen. It has also been scored among the 100 best universities in Africa in spite of the harsh environment, which has been hailed as a triumph for grass-roots initiatives.[68]

New Mogadishu University campus

The Somali National University, founded in 1954 during the "Italian Trust Administration of Somalia" (AFIS), has been closed indefinitely due to extensive damage(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/B Battery).

Benadir University (BU) was established in 2002 with the intention of training doctors. It has since expanded into other fields.

Due to human capital shortage in the country's private sector management, the Somali Institute of Management and Administration Development (SIMAD) has given priority to the fields of business administration, information technology and accountancy(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/L Battery).

Mogadishu has long been a center of media. The first forms of public film display in the city and Somalia at large were newsreels of key events during the early colonial period. These pioneering works were followed by military-themed productions. After independence in 1960, a growing number of privately-owned production and distribution companies as well as actual projection theaters sprang up(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/W Battery). The first few feature-length Somali films and cinematic festivals also emerged during this period.[69] After the 1969 coup, the production, distribution and importation of films in the country were nationalized by the newly-established Supreme Revolutionary Council.[69][70] Privately-owned movie theaters were subsequently replaced with government-controlled film houses,[69] and about 500 films were projected annually.[70] In 1975, the Somali Film Agency (SFA) (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/P Battery), the nation's film regulatory body, was established in Mogadishu.[71] The SFA also organized the annual Mogadishu Pan-African and Arab Film Symposium (Mogpaafis), which brought together an array of prominent filmmakers and movie experts from across the globe, including other parts of Northeast Africa and the Arab world, as well as Asia and Europe.

In addition, there are a number of radio news agencies based in Mogadishu. Established during the colonial period(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/R Battery), Radio Mogadishu initially broadcasted news items in both Somali and Italian.[72] The station was modernized with Russian assistance following independence in 1960, and began offering home service in Somali, Amharic and Oromo.[73] After closing down operations in the early 1990s due to the civil war, the station was officially re-opened in the early 2000s by the Transitional National Government. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/L Battery)In the late 2000s, Radio Mogadishu also launched a complementary website of the same name, with news items in Somali, Arabic and English.[75] Other radio stations in the city include HornAfrik and the Shabelle Media Network, the latter of which was in 2010 awarded the Media of the Year prize by the Paris-based journalism organisation, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/P Battery)

The Mogadishu-based Somali National Television is the principal national public service broadcaster. On March 18th, 2011, the Ministry of Information of the Transitional Federal Government began experimental broadcasts of the new TV channel. After a 20 year hiatus, the station was shortly thereafter officially re-launched on April 4th, 2011.[77] SNTV broadcasts 24 hours a day, and can be viewed both within Somalia and abroad via terrestrial and satellite platforms. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/R Battery)

The city is home to Mogadishu Stadium, which plays host to the Somalia Cup and to football teams from the Somalia League. The New Somali Youth League grassroots organization based in Mogadishu has also started the Swap Gun for Job and Sports Campaign aimed at discouraging youngsters in the city from engaging in vice by offering them employment opportunities and sporting activities. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/W Battery)

Somali popular music enjoys a large audience in Mogadishu, and was widely sold prior to the civil war.[80] With the government managing to secure the city in mid-2011, radios once again play music. On March 19, 2012, an open concert was also held in the city, which was broadcast live on local television. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR150E/B Battery)

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