Mogadishu: Images from the Past

Pre-colonial port, remains circa1882

Posted in 1800 - 1900 by rickjdavies on 5 January, 2014

harbour2From “Voyage Chez Les Benadirs, Les Comalis et les Bayouns, par M.G. Revoil en 1882 et 1883”
Published in Le Tour du Monde. Noveau Journal des Voyages. XLIX, 1255 Liv, page 49

Text on page 50 refers to this view [courtesy Google Translate):

Along the narrow streets of Harmarhouine amid the huts and miserable huts along them, we arrive at the mosque of Hussein Arbou . This edifice , without much importance , dominates a small cove almost square, closed by the nature in which the sea, which breaks with fury on the rocks, pours a veritable cataract of foaming waves , while iridescent by the rays of the sun . Some sections of blackened walls surrounding the mosque, based as it on an entablature of the cliff and peak ground in many places by the hand of man . A little further , the old men say , was a tower of similar construction to the Abdul Aziz tower , and high enough so that we could see it from Meurka ​​. This tower , no marks on the rock, however, it differs in the reef a sharpened screw which, through arched doorway , built strong regularly and a Moorish character quite remarkable staircase gives access to a cave formed by the upper entablature . No clue, no registration revealed the date of the ruins. The other side of the creek, a cut in the rock street is facing the door , and can still be seen , right and left , a few walls identical to those adjoining the mosque.   This cove she was a small port of refuge intended to park the boat against the violence of the monsoon ? or was it used basin repair a flotilla of Moguedouchou ? It is difficult to say today , but there  has certain is that the cave and its surroundings bear traces of human labor . I have natural claims to have found several times small pieces of gold , as for me, I have hardly discovered around these lands broken fragments of pottery and glass beads without much interest. South of the basin , which extends the space between the mosque of Hussein Arbou and that of Aoues al- Garni forms a small cove covered at high tide. The low tide leaves has discovered a kind of platform rocks mishap by algae , and there is generally less research by women for bathing or laundry. Holes that serve tubs or swimming pools seem to have been in all probability foundations of a dead city , once sitting on rocks. But since water and sand walks slowly to the conquest of the rocks, and it was difficult for me to really reconaitre if these ruins were the same age as the Arbor -Hussein stairs. Who can say how many thousands of years have passed since the first inhabitants of these beaches?

If you think you can improve this admittedly rough translation contact me and I will send the original French text

Here below is a later view of the area, shown in a map titled “Oceano Indiano – Somalia Italiana Ancoraggio di Mogadiscio. Dai rilievi Originali della Regia Nave – Staffetta,, 1911 e da Quelli Successivi Fino al 1934”  [Indian Ocean – Italian Somalia Anchorage of Mogadishu. Original Surveys by the Royal Ship “Relay” 1911 Subsequent to Those Until 1934 “] The “small cove almost square” can be seen in the red circle. Around 1985 I remember seeing the eroded remains of a spiral staircase that had been cut down into the rock, giving access to the water line within the cove

square port2

And here is a Google Earth view of the same location, showing the mosque on the top right of the cove

square port2 googleLat and Long: 2°01’52.0″N 45°20’34.5″E
2.031104, 45.342908

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One Response

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  1. rick davies said, on 29 July, 2014 at 8:08 am

    I forgot to mention, in the mid’80s it was still possible to see and walk down a very worn circular staircase cut into the rock that led down to the waters edge on the inside of this cove (on the side closest to the ocean). This may be the “a sharpened screw which, through arched doorway , built strong regularly and a Moorish character quite remarkable staircase gives access to a cave formed by the upper entablature “


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