Mogadishu: Images from the Past

Aerial view of Mogadishu, circa 1938

Posted in 1930s, Aerial photographs by rickjdavies on 20 November, 2014

Aerial1938“Somalia Italiana Mogadiscio – Panorama”

Double click on photo to get a large and more detailed view

“Mogadishu, the white city on the shores of the Indian Ocean”

Posted in 1930s, Aerial photographs by rickjdavies on 20 November, 2014

aerial view 1935

“Mogadishu,  the white city on the shores of the Indian Ocean”

From “L’Illustration” No.4799, 23 February 1935

Double click on photo to get a large and more detailed view

Qandala and Botiala

Posted in 1800 < before, Aerial photographs, NE Somalia by rickjdavies on 9 January, 2014

I visited Qandala in late 1991,  travelling overnight by boat along the coast from Bossaso. A memorable trip!
G. Revoil described his travels along this coast 100 years beforehand in Voyage au pays des Medjourtaines (Cap Gardufui – Afrique Orientale), pages 254-269, Bulletin de la Societe de Geographie, Mars 1880.

gandala1Here is a drawing of the town as seen from the sea. One of the two taller (mud-brick?) buildings could still be seen in 1991

Here is a photograph taken by @XaajiBaaruud that shows one of the two-storey buildings, somewhat closer to the coast. Does anyone know anything about this building? Who built it and when?


The map below shows Qandala in relation to Bender Khor, also labeled Boutiala. Boutiala/Botiala is a site of some antiquity, as described in this Wikipedia entry

boutialaWith the help of Google Translate, I have translated Revoil’s description of Bender Khor [its a very rough translation]

Two different times I visit Khor Bender or Bottiala . This city is about six miles from the coast , on an island formed by the two arms of dried up Khori , a stream which pours into the sea through narrow and steep gorges. The sea arrives into these gorges, washes to the first huts of the city, maintaining a depth around 5 to 6 cubits or doudouns, which allows small sambucos or dhows to come loaded with mechandises to Bender Khor .

Bender Khor is unquestionably the city where the traveller may be the best at what he has before his eyes , refer to the first era of civilization of the people. Four adobe forts guard the gorge, complete with all defence accessories. The cemetery is placed right in the middle of the village and from the mosque, the huts scattered symmetrically under the protection of the forts: …… , contributed to this locality trapped in a huge amphitheatre and a great character that strikes the attention.

Here is his drawing of the town of Bender Khor

Bender KhorThere is very little left of this town at present, as can be seen in the Google Maps photo below (Lat 11° 28.538′, Lon 49° 56.947′)

Screenshot 2014-01-12 16.39.31 Bender Khor

The location of the four forts mentioned by Revoil is not clear. On the Revoil map shown above one high point is marked with a C, and this corresponds roughly with the ruins shown in the Google Maps photo shown below. They stand on the edge of a small plateau, about 200 metres to the west of Bender Khor, at  Lat 11° 28.538′, Lon 49° 56.947′ The structure is perhaps 25 x 30 metres in size. The irregular extension to the top right of the structure may be a more recent addition, perhaps an animal enclosure.


Here is a similar structure within the Botiala settlement area, with similar small (defensive?) protrusions from the main encircling wall

Screenshot (206)


This Google elevated view provides another perspective

Screenshot 2014-01-12 17.56.18

Further towards the coast there are remains of other buildings, which may have been Revoil’s four forts.

They are between 10 and 20 metres square in size

Screenshot 2014-01-12 18.01.01

The Wikipedia entry also says “To the north of the fortress complex is an impressive field of approximately 200 stone cairns (taalo) of varying sizes, some of which are associated with standing stones. Close by and along the shoreline are extensive shell middens. Neither structures have yet been excavated or dated

This Google photo may show the cairns. I thought at first they were wells, but no longer think so. They are to the immediate south-west of the “four forts”

Screenshot 2014-01-12 18.31.40

And here is a view of the same coastal valley, taken from the coast looking inland (found via Panoramio).

The gorge referred to by Revoil looks more impressive from this angle. The remains of the “four forts” may be visible on the right,  above the first modest sized dark cliff overlooking the waterway



Posted in 1900 - 1960 Italian Period, Aerial photographs by rickjdavies on 23 April, 2013

Mogaerial photo from vintrage somaliaClick on photo to enlarge

Photo copied from Vintage Somalia – a website worth visiting, with a large and eclectic collection of photos

When was this photo taken? Leave your comment below

Boondhere district is visible as a new settlement in the distant centre and right

“Somalia Italiana Mogadiscio”

Posted in 1930s, Aerial photographs, Street scenes by rickjdavies on 7 April, 2013

Aerial view 2Undated postcard. Postcard text reads: “Federazione dei Fasci di Combattimento Della Somalia Italiana, Commissione di Cultura e Propaganda”

Panorama Villaggio Duca Abbruzzi

Posted in Aerial photographs, X: Other locations by rickjdavies on 30 December, 2008

Click on image to enlarge

Postcard posted 1935.
Villagio Duca Abbruzzi later became Jowhar.
For more on its history see the Wikipedia entry on Jowhar

Google Maps view of Jowhar. The ruins of the big building in the photo are in the centre of the satellite photo below

“Mogadiscio – Veduta aerea”

Posted in 1950s, 1960s Independence, Aerial photographs by rickjdavies on 30 December, 2008

Aerial 3
Somali Airlines postcard. Undated

The cathedral can be seen in the centre of the photo above, and its ruins in the centre of the photo below

Croce del Sud Hotel is visible to the left of the cathedral, and on the other side of the street. Parliament building on top right

Mogadishu in the 1950s

Posted in 1950s, Aerial photographs by rickjdavies on 30 December, 2008

Aerial 4
Taken in the 1950’s, possibly. Note sheltered “harbour” on the left. This was cut out of the rocks. In the 1980s there were still the remnants of a circular staircase cut into the stone that went down to the sea level on inside of the harbour. I am not sure if this was built before after the Italian occupation of Mogadishu.

PS: See useful comment below by Nur

Three aerial photos taken from a biplane in the 1930s

Posted in 1930s, Aerial photographs by rickjdavies on 19 June, 2008


 Three aerial photos published as postcards by “Federazione Dei Facci Di Combattimento Della Somalia Italiana. Commissione Di Cultura E Propaganda”

aerial 2

“Somalia Italiana Mogadiscio – Albergo Croce Del Sud”

 Looking seaward over the Croce Del Sud hotel, and over Xamar Weyne in the background


aerial 1
“Somalia Italiana Mogadisgio – Il mercato”

The “mercato” here is the area with the open arcades in the middle distance. The right hand side later became the gold market.

The brown area at the top middle is a squatter area in Xamar Jab Jab (“broken city”), I think.

Biplane aerial

“Somalia Italiana – La Garesa di Mogadiscio”

Looking inland.
Taken from a biplane, whose wing is visible to the right. Visible below is the Garesa (centre) and Fakr al Din mosque (bottom left)

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Xamar Weyne

Posted in Aerial photographs by rickjdavies on 16 May, 2008

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