Updated: Feb 21
By: The PH Team
Somaliland is an unrecognized country, internationally recognized as part of Somalia. In 1960, British Somaliland gained independence and united as scheduled days later with the Italian Somaliland to form the Somali Republic (Somalia) on July 1st.
The country declared independence in 1991, during the Somali Civil War and has remained independent ever since.
Unlike neighbouring Somalia, Somaliland has been able to secure the country and its borders from international and domestic threats which plague the lives of everyday citizens in the internationally recognized Somalia.
Hargeisa is the capital of the unrecognized country of Somaliland. As such, the city is the seat of the regional parliament, the presidential palace and government ministries.
Hargeisa was almost completely destroyed during the Somali Civil War, which ended with the de facto independence of Somaliland.
During the Middle Ages, Hargeisa was part of the domain of the Adal Sultanate. The city later succeeded Berbera as the capital of British Somaliland in 1941.
After the collapse of the Somali central government under Siad Barre and the start of the Somali Civil War in 1991, secessionists in the northwestern part of the country unilaterally declared independence along the lines of the former colonial borders of British Somaliland.
A slow process of infrastructural reconstruction subsequently began in Hargeisa and other towns in the region and today the biggest city and capital of Somaliland has been entirely rebuilt.
Renovations of the capital of the unrecognized country have been quite difficult. As a result of its unrecognized status and without a 'parent State' like other unrecognized countries, the renovations of Hargeisa have been largely financed by local entrepreneurs, as well as Somalilander expatriates sending remittance funds to relatives in the region through some of the various money transfer operators.
The city is home to quite a few options for higher education such as; the University of Hargeisa, Admas University College, Somaliland University of Technology, Gollis University, New Generation University, Hope University and Marodijeh International University.
The city is also home to the famous 'Hargeisa Money Market,' where locals and tourists alike come to trade in the local unrecognized currency - the 'Somaliland Shilling.'
In addition, Hargeisa hosts the 'Hargeisa Camel Market' where live camels are traded daily to be used a both food and labor.
Because of Somaliland's unrecognized status and association with the failed State of Somalia, international tourists are hesitant to make Hargeisa and Somaliland a destination.
However, this could not be farther from the truth. Hargeisa, Somaliland's capital, is a warm and welcoming city and tourists are free to walk around on their own without worrying about personal safety.
It is not uncommon to walk around Hargeisa and have friendly locals come and say hello just for an opportunity to speak in English and welcome you to their unrecognized country.
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