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Somalia


Full name: Somali Republic or Somali Democratic Republic.
Capital City: Mogadishu
Language: Somali, Arabic, English and Italian.
Currency: Somali Shilling.
Religion: Sunni Muslim.
National Anthem: "Somaliyaay toosoo" meaning 'Somalia Wake Up' and "Somalia Hanolato" meaning 'Long Live Somalia'.
Newspaper: AllPuntland, Hiiraan, Puntland Post and Shabelle Times.
Places to Visit: Berbera, Mogadishu, Hargeisa, Hargeisa Markets and Las Geel.
Transport: Airways : there are flights twice a week from the Daallo Airlines from Dubai, London and Paris to Djibouti. The other airline that operates between other countries and Somalia is the Ethiopian Airlines; Roadways : buses are available between Jijiga in Ethiopia Hargeisa.
Shopping: hand-crafted jewellery made from gold, silver, semiprecious stones and beads; hand woven clothes and textiles; traditional Somali garments; baskets woven in the Benadir region; meerschaum making and woodcarvings.

The country of Somalia was formed of the merging of British Somaliland in the north with Italian Somaliland in the south, in the year 1960. However, that only ended the colonial divide.

Peace remained un-restored with persisting clan-wars, dictatorship and civil war. After the end of the civil war in 1991, the 'Republic of Somaliland' withdrew from the main country.

Somalia has failed to reinstate a proper national government since the end of the civil war in 1991, and remains without one. The other aspect of the country, aside of the clan-wars, that continually thwarts Somalia's stability are the recurring droughts. Somalia is made up of some 18 regions.

Location of Somalia
The country of Somalia is conveniently located in the region that is better known as the "Horn of Africa". Somalia is situated in the eastern extreme in Africa. Its immediate political neighbors are Kenya to the southwest; Ethiopia to the west; and Djibouti to the northwest.

The northern, eastern and the southeastern borders are surrounded by water bodies. The Gulf of Aden lies to the north of Somalia and the Indian Ocean to its east and southeast.

Physical Map of Somalia
The country of Somalia is basically made up of flat lands; if at all there is an increase in altitude, it rises to form a table land or plateau. However, there occur several mountains in the north of the country that rise to an altitude to about 2,000 meters above sea level. Located in the part of Africa that is termed as the "Horn of Africa", this semi-arid country has the second largest coastal stretch in the continent, measuring about 3,025 kilometers. The two main rivers that water the country are Juba and Shebelle; both of them flow into the Indian Ocean in the east.

Flag of Somalia
The country of Somalia has a flag with an extremely simple design. The rectangular flag of the country has a light blue backdrop on which is superimposed a white five-pointed star. The shade of light blue that is used in the flag is the same as that in the flag of the United Nations. In fact, the inspiration is derived from the United Nation's flag. The white five-pointed star is known as the "Star of Unity". It stands as a testimony to the race of Somalis who are found in the ex-Italian colony, ex-British colony, Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Climate of Somalia
The country of Somalia has two types of conditions: an arid desert condition and also a tropical one. Also the climatic conditions of the country are massively dependent on the landscape and region location. So, basically the country has a typically hot climate all year round punctuated by irregular and scanty rainfall. Between the months of May and October, the weather is rendered pleasant by the monsoon in the southwest. The other spell of precipitation - the northeast monsoons - occurs in the months between December and February . Despite the decline in temperature during the monsoons, the humidity in the country shoots up. The country is not alien to droughts with monsoons, meager as they are, giving a miss every now and then. The annual precipitation on an average is 28 cm.

Flora and Fauna of Somalia
The country of Somalia mainly houses desert variety of plants. However, the coastal areas have tropical varieties. The indigenous species of plants found in extensive numbers are incense trees, acacia thorntrees, papaya, aloes, kapok, baobab, mangrove and candelabra. There are also several imported varieties in Somalia that have become popular; they are the pine, flamboyant, coconut, dune palm and juniper. The animal habitat in the country comprises of a rich collection too. The variety will delight you with a range from elephants to wild boars. The other varieties that fall somewhere in between are baboons, lions, porcupines, wildcats, gazelles, giraffes, waterbucks, zebras, hippopotamuses and hyenas. Reptile species also come in a wide range. The list includes the dik-dik, lizard, crocodiles, turtles and many species of snakes and vipers like, puff adders, spitting cobras, and kraits. The avian varieties that are sighted in Somalia are bustards, sand grouse, ostriches, green pigeons, ducks, partridges, guinea fowls and herons.

People of Somalia
The people of Somalia are an undiluted and undiversified race. Nomads by nature, most of them are Somalis and Bantus. The six main Somali calns are the Darod, the Isaq, the Hawiye, the Dir, the Digil, and the Rahanweyn. The only other race whose have a significant presence is that of the Arabs. The language of the people originates from the Cushitic subgroup - an Afro-Asiatic root. Barring a negligible few, all of them are Sunni Muslims.

Arts, Culture and Music of Somalia
  • Art : traditional Somali art is tribal and nomadic. Hence it is almost always utilitarian in nature. So there is textile weaving, cloth making, basketry, pottery, stone wares, woodcarvings and meerschaum making. The only decorative type of art is jewellery making from beads and other types of stones. The baskets made in the Benadir region of the country are especially famous. Painting is a modern tradition; and Somalia's most celebrated painter is Mohamed Buwe Osman. Most of his paintings depict Somali life and customs.

  • Culture : being a dominantly homogenous community, the two factors that Somalia derives its culture from are its propensity towards poetry and its religious identity; these two factors are practically the sole indicators and defining elements. Lifestyle Of the people of Somalia is basically nomadic and agrarian. The instances of Somalia's affinity towards poetry are demonstrated by the oral tradition. The worth of people of importance is judged by their ability to wax poetic and their eloquence to present it. Many times suitors too are judged in a similar fashion. On the other hand, being verbally adroit enhances the status of a person of ordinary social standing in the eyes of the community. Also Somalia's society is clan-based; one of the reasons of rampant violence and rivalry. Though there are reduced numbers of pre-Islamic cultures, Islam gives rise to the feeling of national identity and is also the root of several social norms prevalent in the country.

  • Music :being one of the only homogenous communities, the music in Somalia has very little external influences. Whatever imported traits there are, they have been incorporated into the system only with the induction of 'modernity'. However, the chief determining factors of the musical culture of the nation come from poetry making and the Islamic religion. Islam being contributed by the Arabs, Arabic traits is the only prominent traits to be found in the music of Somalia.

Most of the Somalian music is percussion based. The most popular drum in Somalia is the "Batar" drum. The most important personality in Somali music is Abdillahi Qarshe; he is held as the 'Father of Somali Music'. He also happens to be first person to usher in the trend of using accompanying musical instruments; especially the lute and other stringed instruments.

Economy of Somalia
The lack of an organized government, scarcity of natural resources and the disorganized and indiscriminate operation of a free market places Somalia's economy in a vulnerable position. As a result Somalia is mostly reliant on the remittances sent from abroad. The chief sustenance is obtained from the rearing of cattle and livestock. The meager amounts of mineral recourses come in the form of bauxite, oil reserves, iron ore, natural gas, tin, salt, gypsum and copper. Agricultural produces like rice, beans, bananas, sesame seeds, sorghum, mangoes, corn, sugarcane and coconuts also make a significant contribution. Aromatic forest produces like frankincense and myrrh were once a significant export commodity of the country; but depleting forest land and lack of organization has taken its toll. The industry of fishing too has been subjected to the same fate due to rampant poaching and lack of a leading body. The other industries in the country are those of wireless communication, sugar refining and textiles. The goods that are exported from the country mostly comprise of natural resources like hides of animals, scrap metal, livestock, charcoal, bananas and fish.

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