Places to Visit in Mogadishu, Somalia, East Africa, Africa
Mogadishu is the capital and largest city of the eastern African country Somalia. It is situated in the Banaadir region on the coastline of the Indian Ocean, covering an area of 1,657 sq. km. Being the country’s capital, Mogadishu is home to the Federal Government of Somalia, the Federal Parliament of Somalia, Villa Somalia and many administrative houses.
Mogadishu is also renowned as a university town, home to the Somali National University and Mogadishu University. For visitors, Mogadishu is a paradise with a mix of historic to modern, natural to manmade attractions like white sandy beaches, mosques, museums, libraries, vibrant traditional markets and palaces.
History of Mogadishu:
It is believed that, the name of Mogadishu may be derived from the Persian term Maq’ad-i-Shah and it literally means ‘the seat of the Shah’, indicating the Persian influence on the city. Like the rest of Somalia, Mogadishu also witnessed the rule of many famous sultanates, including Sultanate of Mogadishu and Ajuran Sultanate, prior to the European invasion. Mogadishu became the capital of the newly formed Italian Somaliland in 1905 and has been continued to serve as the capital of the independent Somalia since 1960.
The Mogadishu International Airport in Mogadishu is the gateway to Somalia, situated around 6 km away from the city centre. The airport handles flights from Nairobi, Djibouti and Berbera, Dubai, Sharjah and Istanbul.
There is no railway transportation in Mogadishu like the rest of Somalia, but the city is well served by buses, taxis and rental vehicles like cars and bikes.
Culture, Food and Shopping in Mogadishu:
Apart from many recognized universities, Mogadishu houses the National Museum of Somalia, the National Library of Somalia and the National Theatre of Somalia.
Bakaara Market is the prime traditional shopping site in Mogadishu, where everything can be bagged, including handicraft products and jewels. Lido Sea Food restaurant and Dhadhan are the two famous restaurants in Mogadishu.
What to do in Mogadishu?
- Beach exploration
- Visiting universities
- City tour
What to see in Mogadishu?
National Museum of Somalia:
The National Museum of Somalia in Mogadishu was founded in 1933 during the Italian colonial rule. It exhibits the importance of the country’s history and importance with a great collection of artworks, bartering tools, traditional artifacts and ancient weaponry.
Mosque of Islamic Solidarity:
Considered as the Horn of Africa’s largest masjid, the Mosque of Islamic Solidarity is a symbolic mosque, constructed in 1987. Overlooking the Indian Ocean, the mosque has a capacity of 10,000 devotees.
The National Theatre of Somalia:
The National Theatre of Somalia is the most important cultural centre in Mogadishu, established in the year 1967. It was once closed during the civil war in the 1990s and reopened in 2013. Cultural performances are regularly taking place here.
National Library of Somalia:
Situated in the city centre, the National Library of Somalia houses more than 22,000 books on different subjects, including Somalia’s culture and history. It was first opened in 1975 and reopened in June 2013.
The Mogadishu Cathedral is a cathedral dating from the Italian colonial rule in Somalia. The church was constructed in the year 1928 in the Norman Gothic style of architecture.
What else to see in Mogadishu?
- Mogadishu Stadium
- Somali National University
- Bakaara Market
- Villa Somalia
- Arba’a Rukun Mosque
When to travel Mogadishu?
Mogadishu experiences a hot and semi-arid climate with moderate dry weather. The best time to visit Mogadishu is from May to October.
Accommodation options in Mogadishu:
There are many standard hotels in Mogadishu, with all basic and upgraded facilities like restaurant, meeting rooms, safe box, TV, internet access, AC and food on request. Other than amenities, visitors are also served by authentic Somali and international delicacies at reasonable rates. Most hotels in the city offer advance booking facility through online, which is also helpful for getting fine hotels during peak season. The prominent hotels in Mogadishu are as follows:
- Hotel Shamo
- Mogadishu Airport Hotel
- Jazeera Palace Hotel
- Hotel Nasa-Hablod
- Sahafi Hotel
- Oriental Hotel
- Amira Castle Hotel
- Aran Guest House