The reason Mogadishu was described as the "White Pearl" is because of its history as a beach resort for Italians and other Europeans, with luxury hotels on beautiful beaches. The origins of "White Pearl" term can be traced back to 1892 when Ali Bin Said, the fourth caliphate of Zanzibar, leased Mogadishu to the Italians. The Italians recently started controlling most of Italian Somaliland (modern day South Somalia). 15 years later the Italians took Mogadishu outright and made it the capital of newly-established Italian Somaliland. By the 1930s the Italians developed Mogadishu, creating factories, building new buildings, railways, and roads, allowing for thousands of Italians colonists to flock to this new, modern city built along the beautiful coast of the Indian Ocean. From there beach resorts were built and Italians, and later other wealthy western Europeans traveled there for holidays. From 1936 to 1949 there was a war time lapse in Mogadishu's popularity as a tourist spot, but from 1949-1960 when the Italians regained control of Mogadishu is flourished as a beach resort for everyone from Italian Prime Ministers to British honeymooners would visit Mogadishu for a relaxing beach weekend. Post Independence in 1960, Mogadishu's status as "White Pearl" waned, but Mogadishu remained a popular beach resort into the early 70s when the Communist government took power, and tourism didn't fully stop until the late 1980s when Somalia fell into complete chaos.
Somalia Restores Monuments Wrecked During Civil War
MOGADISHU - Somalia's historic monuments that were damaged and destroyed during years of civil war have been restored as part of efforts to revive the country's cultural heritage. A ceremony to unveil restored statues was held October 18.
Abdulkadir Hussein Mah has long campaigned for the restoration of Somalia's cultural heritage damaged by decades of civil war and extremism.
Mah has been collecting pieces since civil war broke out in 1991. But the independence monuments have been damaged from fighting dating back to the 1980s.
Mah is now the chairman of Somali Academy of Sciences and Arts. He said he has sought the help of anyone who has knowledge of the country's heritage.
"The long civil war has really destroyed all kinds of cultural heritage," Mah said.
The Somali government last week unveiled the restored statues of independence fighters in Mogadishu as part of its plan to revive the country's rich history.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo said his government is the first to complete the restoration of the country's historical monuments.
He said, "We are delighted to be part of the revival of the country's historic monuments, they are symbolic and have so much meaning for the country."
The restored monuments include the Dhagaxtuur monument, which honors stone-throwing Somalis killed in the struggle for independence against British forces.
Among those killed was the father of Somalia's former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdi Yusuf. Paying a short visit to this monument, Yusuf recalled the painful experience of losing his father in that battle and what the monument means to him.
He said, "the monument has so much meaning, not only for me but also the entire people because it's the place where the freedom fighters were decimated." Yusuf added that the incident brought about the independence from Britain ten years later.
Mogadishu is a city emerging from the ashes of civil war while living under the constant threat of al-Shabab terrorism.
But it is also a city honoring those who gave their lives in the name of an independent Somalia.