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Landscape of SomaliaLandscape of Somalia
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Somalia is a country in the Horn of Africa facing the Indian Ocean. It covers 637,657 sq km (246,200 sq mi) and has a population of around 10 million people (2011 estimate). The capital and largest city is Mogadishu. The country is bordered by Djibouti to the northwest, Ethiopia to the west and Kenya to the southwest. To the north of Somalia is the Gulf of Aden, across which lies Yemen.

Somalia is in the East Africa Time zone (UTC+3). Its GDP per capita is only $600 (2010 estimate), making it one of the poorest countries in the world. The currency in Somalia is the Somali Shiling. Languages spoken in the country include Somali and Arabic.

Aqal, a traditional Somali nomad's hutAqal, a traditional Somali nomad's hut
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authorshipCharles Roffey
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Although Somalia has been the crossroad of trade routes since the time of antiquity, recent history has not been benign to the country, as it has be plunged into conflict. Since 1991, there is no central government that is in full control of the country. There parts of Somalia has broken out into self-governing, unrecognized entities such as the state of Samaliland, Puntland and Al-Shabaab. The Transitional Federal Government, which is internationally recognized, controls only the capital and some territories on the northern part of Somalia.

Cave paintings in Somalia bear evidence of human habitation in the country going back to 9,000 BC. The oldest cemeteries found in Somalia dates to the 4th millennium BC. There are also pyramid-type structures and tombs as well as ruins from thousands of years ago.

The town of Bardera in southern SomaliaThe town of Bardera in southern Somalia
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Planning your visit to Somalia

At time of writing (November 2011), it is still not safe for casual visitors to go to Somalia. This is due to conflict between the Government forces and Islamist insurgents.

Major Towns in Somalia

  1. Mogadishu - capital
  2. Hargeisa
  3. Kismayo

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