Mogadishu: Images from the Past

“Mogadiscio – Panorama del Quartiere di Amarnini”

Posted in 1918 - 1940, Street scenes by rickjdavies on 20 November, 2014

Panorama Amuraini“Amarnini” being Xamar Weyne

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

If you know where in Xamar Weyne (or elsewhere) this photo was taken, please leave a Comment

“Mogadiscio – Campo Militaire”

Posted in Themes by rickjdavies on 20 November, 2014

Campo MilitaireMilitary camp, location unknown.  If you know where it was, please leave a Comment

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

See other photos of what seems to be the same camp here:

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

Interior views of the Garessa (when used as a museum)

Posted in 1950s, Govt buildings by rickjdavies on 10 November, 2014

Garissa interio 1

Undated postcard, but likely to be from the 1950sGarissa interio 2

 Undated postcard, but likely to be from the 1950s

Location on Google Maps

For other views of the Garessa at different points in time, see these postings:

“Chiesa del Sacro Cuore” (Church of the Sacred Heart)

Posted in 1950s, Churches by rickjdavies on 8 November, 2014

ChurchDestroyed during the civil war, in the early 1990s. Now a squatter area.

Location as seen on Google Maps


“Contrattazioni” (bargaining)

Posted in 1950s, Markets by rickjdavies on 8 November, 2014

Market sceneLocation unknown. Any ideas?

Street scene in Mogadishu

Posted in Street scenes by rickjdavies on 6 November, 2014

crowd in street

Location and date unknown. If you have any ideas, please leave a comment below

Hand weavers of Mogadishu cloth

Posted in People, Street scenes by rickjdavies on 6 November, 2014


Possibly in Xamar Weyne, where weaving like this continued until the 1980s

Traditionally done by the slave section of the Xamar population, known as (h)abash or adoon

The text below is from “The Politics of Dress in Somali Culture” By Heather Marie Akou, 2011

weavers text

See also an engraving of a similar scene from the 1880s, here.

Street scene in Xamar Weyne

Posted in 1900 - 1918, Street scenes by rickjdavies on 6 November, 2014

alleyUntitled but taken in Xamar Weyne, possibly dated 2/3/1914

“Mogadiscio – Il mercato”

Posted in 1950s, Markets, People, Street scenes by rickjdavies on 5 November, 2014

Il mercatoWhere was this photo taken? I think it is somewhere near the gold market (the arches in the distance?), but I am not sure. Leave a comment if you can help

1750 French map of the north east of Africa

Posted in 1800 < before, Maps by rickjdavies on 4 November, 2014


Many of the features on this map seem largely imaginary. Some of the names on the Somalia coast are of trading ports known in antiquity but no long in existence in 1750 e.g. Opone, Mosylon, Avalites and Maleos

“Mogadiscio – Mercato del grano”

Posted in 1930s, Markets by rickjdavies on 2 November, 2014


“Tipi e costumi”

Posted in 1930s, People, Street scenes by rickjdavies on 29 October, 2014



Posted in 1930s, People, Street scenes by rickjdavies on 29 October, 2014


“Venditori di dura”

Posted in 1950s, Markets by rickjdavies on 29 October, 2014



2nd World War period – British occupation

Posted in 1940s, Govt buildings, Mosques, Wells by rickjdavies on 14 August, 2014

Scan4Text on back says “Late Fascist Headquarters. Now Troop Headquarters, Mogadishu”

Lat and Long: 2°02’18.9″N 45°20’29.6″E
2.038593, 45.341569

This became the home of the Parliament, post independence. What was its use before then?

Scan6Text on back says “Another view of the Mosque, Mogadishu. From further up the beach”

Where is this?

Scan5Text on the back says “A well on the outskirts of Mogadishu”

Is this Mosque Sheik Sufi in the background? Your comments below please?

Scan2Text on the back says “Mosque on the seashore, Mogadishu”

Where is this? Leave your comments below

ScanText on the back says “Another view of the high school in the centre of the town, Mogadishu”

Where is this exactly?

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


Iskushuban – Italian administration building

Posted in 1918 - 1940, NE Somalia by rickjdavies on 9 January, 2014

IskushubanCourtesy of Panoramio Google Maps

Location according to Google Maps +10°17’7.02″, +50°14’4.44″

Iskusuban goolge

I visited this town in 1991, as part of a “post” civil war needs assessment mission to  the north-east of Somalia. It is an oasis in the middle of nowhere. There are two sets of springs, on the top and bottom left, the water from these springs then flows eastwards, to the right. Using a low man made weir some of the water is channeled off to the side to feed an area of date palms, which are off the screen to the right.  The Italian fort is situated on the bluff in the middle of the fork, with the town behind it to the left

A colleague and friend of mine from the 1980s. Dr Ahmed Ismael Jama, was born in this town

The word “iskashuban” means “self-pouring” i.e. a waterfall. Perhaps in better times

Gendershe ruins

Posted in 1980s, X: Other locations by rickjdavies on 8 January, 2014

Gondereshe2008From the Wikipedia entry on Gondershe , with a photo dated as 2008.

But I query the date. The ruins look much more visible here than they did when I visited in site the 1980’s. At that time they were much more overgrown with scrub. And the 2011 Google image below also shows them to be very overgrown, and possibly less intact than the photo above.

The location, as visible via Google Maps


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