Somalia Holidays, Events, Climate and Sightseeing

Somalia: Holidays, kidnapping of the Landshut

Public holidays

Date Holiday
January 1 New Year
February March Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice)
April May Mouloud (birthday of the prophet)
1st of May Labor Day
May 14 Ashoura
June 26 Independence day
July 1 Establishment of the Republic of Somalia
November December Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan)

Source: Countryaah – Somalia Holidays

The dates for the Islamic holidays are calculated according to the lunar calendar and therefore shift every year. During the fasting month of Ramadan, which precedes the feast day Eid-al-Fitr, Muslims do not eat during the day, but only after sunset. The festivals Eid al-Adha and Eid-al-Fitr last 2-10 days, depending on the region.

National customs


Somalia has a long tradition of telling and passing on folk stories and fairy tales. These stories passed from one generation to the next by being passed down orally. The rich narrative art of the Somalis, often provided with Islamic content, was first recorded in writing in the 1960s in the two periodically published works Sahan and Horseed. As for modern Somali literature, however, it did not develop until after the Somali language was written down. Nuruddin Farah and Farah Mohamed Jama Awl are among the most famous writers in Somalia today.

Everyday rules of conduct

The soles of the feet should not be held up to any Somalis, because the feet are considered unclean and such a gesture is considered a great insult. In Somalia you eat with your right hand; the one on the left is considered unclean and is reserved for going to the toilet. Therefore, something is not handed or received with the left hand. Somalis are very hospitable. So one should accept their attentions like gifts etc. One should never discuss religious issues from an atheistic point of view.

Even highly educated Somalis who have studied abroad will not approve or tolerate a god-denying attitude. As in other African countries, it is quite common in Somalis to stare at people. So you shouldn’t be angry or too confused if women, men, and children stare at you just because you’re a foreigner. This curiosity is not meant to be offensive, it actually only shows interest and should be answered with a smile.

Way of life and clan nature

60% of the Somalis live as nomads and semi-nomads. 25% are farmers, while the rest have settled in the urban regions of Somalia. The Somali, by far the largest ethnic group, make up about 85% of the country. They also settle in eastern Ethiopia, in Djibouti and in northeastern Kenya. What is striking is their distinctive clan system, which has a significant impact on the country’s society. Every Somali – with paternal origin – belongs to a clan or tribe. The five big clan families (qaabiil) are the Hawiye, the Darod, the Isaaq, the Rahanweyn and the Dir. This social system, which offers protection to the individual, but also repeatedly conjures up vendettes, for example, is complicated by a large number of people Subclans and genders (Somali: reer).

Islam in Somalia

Somalia is almost 100% Islamic. The people follow the Sunni orientation. The Muslims are divided into about 80% Shafiites and 20% Hanafis. Sunni Islam was determined as the official religion of Somalia’s transitional constitution in 2004, which also applies in the de facto autonomous Somali country. It was also determined that the people should live according to the law of the Sharia. While Islam in village and nomadic structures is more moderate and closely linked to the customary law of the clans or tribes, there has been a growing influence of radical Wahabi Islam, as it was in Saudi Arabia, since the mid-1970s, especially in the urban parts of the country. Arabia is the state religion. Nevertheless, during the civil war, the Islamic institutions emerged as the main institutions for guaranteeing education, justice and medical care, which, for example, had different effects on the situation of women. If Islamic jurisprudence gives them a better position than customary law, and if some clergymen have spoken out vehemently against female genital mutilation, women are increasingly encouraged to veil and pushed out of the public space.


Homosexuality is the death penalty in Somalia !!!

One should keep in mind that Somali men do walk hand in hand and hug each other through the streets and see this as a sign of friendship. Visitors from the west, on the other hand, are advised not to imitate them. Wrong impressions can quickly arise. But sharing a room is normal.

Female genital mutilation

Even when female genital mutilation was banned under the Siad Barre government, it has remained widespread across the country. Nowadays it is done on around 95% of Somali girls. In doing so, one usually resorts to the particularly brutal form of infibulation, in which the clitoris and the labia are removed and the vaginal entrance is narrowed to the size of a match head. A ban was issued in 1999 by the (de facto) independent government of the Puntland. In 2004, a nationwide campaign began in which Abdikassim Salat Hassan, the then President of the Somali interim government, branded genital mutilation as a crime against religion and humanity.

Clothing and dress

code In Somalia women wear a direh, a long, puffy dress, over their petticoat. The coantino, a piece of clothing that is tied over the shoulder and stomach, and the abaya, a long and loose black garment, are also common. Women must remain completely veiled even when bathing, because the Islamic Shari’a forbids women from showing much of their bodies.

For guests in an Islamic country, consideration for the local customs is required. Women in particular should pay attention to decent clothing. But men in shorts are also taboo. It is absolutely acceptable to wear traditional Somali clothing (even as a non-native woman).


Possession and consumption of alcohol are prohibited throughout Somalia. Sharia, Islamic law, commands this.

Khat – a national

drug In Somalia, khat – also chat, kat, qat, qad, gat or miraa – is a national drug. The branches and young leaves of the Kath shrub, which is also known as Abyssinian tea, are used for this. The leaves of this plant, which belongs to the spindle tree family (lat Celastraceae), are simply chewed. The so-cosnumed light intoxicant develops an effect that can be compared to that of caffeine. This does not result in physical dependence.


During the fasting month of Ramadan, you must refrain from eating in public. Anyone who does eat in public can be punished with a fine or even imprisonment. In general, alcohol should only be consumed where it is served (in hotels, restaurants).

Taking photos

Taking photos of locals without their permission must be avoided at all costs, as the image of people is traditionally a taboo in Islamic countries. In no case should you photograph women – even if you are a woman yourself. This act is perceived as a very big insult and sometimes also leads to reactions that go beyond bad words and wild gestures. You should also avoid photographing anything that somehow looks like strategic importance.

Al-Shabab Islamists

In large parts of the country – especially southern Somalia – one encounters the Al-Shabab Islamists. This radical movement fought against the Ethiopian troops in the civil war and is now directed against the transitional government of Somalia. Al-Shabab followers are influenced by Wahhabi, practice a very strict interpretation of the Sharia and intend the establishment of an Islamic state and global jihad. Sharia is ruthlessly applied in its territories, especially since no Somali government can really prevent it. Often used punishments are beatings, amputations and also executions.

Kidnapping of the Landshut

The background

On October 13, four terrorists – two men and two women – hijacked the Lufthansa plane, a Boeing 737-200, named Landshut, on its flight from Palma de Mallorca to Frankfurt am Main.

In addition to the kidnapping of Hanns Martin Schleyer (1915-1977) on September 5, they wanted to put pressure on the RAF terrorists Andreas Bader (1943-1977), Gudrun Ensslin (1940-1977) and Jan -Carl Raspe (1944-1977) and eight other to get rid of it.

The kidnapping had taken place via France and was diverted to Larnaka in Cyprus. Due to a lack of fuel, the machine had to make a stopover in Rome to be refueled. It was here in Rome that the terrorists’ political demands were made known for the first time, identical to those of the kidnappers of Hanns Martin Schleyer. From here the Landshut could fly on to Larnaka, where a representative of the PLO had tried in vain to persuade the terrorists to give up. After refueling, the plane took off for Lebanon, but since the airports of Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Kuwait City had been closed, it flew on to Dubai.

Due to a lack of fuel, permission to land was given in the morning hours of October 14th. Here the plane stood in the blazing sun for more than three days and had no working air conditioning due to lack of fuel. In addition, the hygienic conditions had got worse and worse.

After the terrorists threatened to shoot hostages, the machine was refueled and was able to take off in the direction of Oman. Since a landing permit had been refused here, we went on to Aden in what was then South Yemen.

Since the local runway had been closed, the machine had to make an emergency landing on a strip of sand next to the runway during the night. Therefore, the flight captain Jürgen Schumann (1940-1977) was allowed to inspect the landing gear.

Since Schumann did not return to the plane for about an hour, the terrorist leader executed Schumann with a shot in the head. Schumann was a pilot in the Bundeswehr until 1968 and had flown the Starfighter, among other things.

Shortly before the liberation

The murder of Schumann prompted the authorities to refuel the aircraft so that it could be flown to Mogadishu by co-pilot Jürgen Vietor (born 1942) in the morning hours of October 17. She landed here at 4:30 a.m. (CET). Here the terrorists had set an ultimatum until 3 p.m. CET to release the RAF terrorists from the Stuttgart penal institution. After that, the machine was supposed to be blown up, because the hijackers had no more land in sight to continue their flight.

Shortly before the ultimatum expired, the terrorists doused the passengers with alcohol and armed the explosives. The stewardess Gabriele Dillmann (now Gabriele von Lutzau) had, on the instructions of the terrorists, made an imploring appeal to the German politicians to release the RAF prisoners in order to save the lives of the passengers and crew members.

In order to gain time for the final preparations for a liberation operation, the terrorists were deceived with the news that they wanted to meet their demands and that the RAF prisoners wanted to be flown to Mogadishu.

The promise had prompted the terrorists to issue the ultimatum by October 18 at 01:30 a.m.CET. to extend

The Liberation

Shortly after midnight, at 00:05 a.m. CET, the GSG-9 command under the direction of Police Director Ulrich Wegener (born 1929) stormed Landshut as part of Operation Magic Fire. During the seven-minute mission, three of the four terrorists – with the exception of one of the women – were killed. In addition, a GSG-9 officer and stewardess Gabriele Dillmann were injured. At 12:12 a.m. CET, the Minister of State Hans-Jürgen Wischnewski (1922-2005) who was traveling with him was able to inform the then Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (1918-2015) of the success of the liberation campaign.

And afterwards

On the morning of October 18, 1977, the RAF terrorists Jan-Carl Raspe, Gudrun Ensslin and Andreas Baader were found dead in their prison cells. They had committed collective suicide only Irmgard Möller (born 1947) survived seriously injured.

On October 19th, the murder of Martin Schleyer was announced. He had been shot in the neck on October 18th. His body was found on October 19, 1977 in the trunk of an Audi 100 parked in Mulhouse, Alsace.

Somalia: Sightseeing

There are practically no state institutions in Somalia. The country is ruled by warlords, pirates, gangs and other criminals. The security situation is more than precarious, and Mogadishu is considered the most dangerous capital in the world.

Furthermore, according to a publication by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), the approx. 3,000 km long coastline is considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world with regard to piracy. Therefore, it is currently almost impossible – and certainly not as a private person – to travel to the country.


Baidoa (also Baydhabo)

The capital of the Bay region, with a population of around 135,000, is located in southwest Somalia. From 2005 onwards, Baidoa, which was fiercely contested in the civil war, even acted with interruptions as the provisional seat of the interim government of Somalia.

Because of the dramatic circumstance that during the famine from 1991 to 1993 around 500,000 people died of starvation in the region around the city, Baidoa was also known for a time as the “city of death”.

Beledweyne (also Beled Weyne, Belet Uen or Belet Huen)

About 108,000 people live in Beledweyne, the capital of the Hiiraan region in central Somalia. The city, which was heavily affected by the civil war, served as a station for the German Somalia Support Association in 1993 and 1994. This was in the country as part of the UNOSOM II mission. In 2009 Beledweyne was conquered by the Somali transitional government, which ousted the Islamist al-Shabaab. Incidentally, two people who are important for Somali history come from Beledweyne: Aden Abdullah Osman Daar, the first President of Somalia, and Mohammed Farah Aidid, one of the most important warlords during the Somali civil war.

Boosaaso (also Bender Cassim)

The port city of Boosaaso, located in northern Somalia on the Gulf of Aden, functions as the capital of the Bari (Puntland) region and is inhabited by between 100,000 and 500,000 people. The population figures fluctuate considerably, especially since it is also assumed that around 30,000 people are currently living in camps. Boosaaso, a kind of economic center in the Somali northeast, has a fairly good infrastructure, an important export port and has remained fairly stable during the civil war. Probably the fastest growing city in Somalia is a popular destination for war refugees, economic migrants and boat refugees who want to cross the Gulf of Aden into Yemen.

Burao (also Burco or Bur’o)

The often dry Togdheer River flows through Burao, the capital of the Togdheer region in Somaliland. About 101,000 people live in the city in the north of Somalia, where an important gathering of clan elders took place in 1991, which was crowned with the declaration of independence of Somaliland from the rest of Somalia. Since then, the growing Burao has been rebuilt and the city has been provided with a functioning electricity and water supply. There is also an airport in the university town, through which Somali Daallo Airlines connect to Hargeisa.

Hargeisa (also Hargeysa)

Hargeisa is the capital of Somaliland, which broke away from the rest of Somalia in 1991. Between 500,000 and a million people live in Hargeisa, which is considered to be the safest city in Somalia. The city, which was badly damaged by the Somali military in the civil war, was rebuilt after the declaration of independence and is much more progressive and western than the state capital Mogadishu. Hargeisa is also the second most important business location in Somaliland after Berbera and has a very good infrastructure. There is also an international airport with flights to Djibouti and Dubai. The city is home to four universities – the University of Hargeisa, the Somaliland University of Technology, the Gollis and the Hope University – and more touristy than many other places in Somalia.

Merka (also Marka)

Merka is a port city in the Somali south that spreads out on the Indian Ocean. The capital of the Shabeellaha Hoose region is inhabited by between 65,000 and 100,000 people and is dominated by interesting Arabic architecture. The white limestone buildings, which in all probability gave the city the nickname Marka Cadey (German: White Merka), are also impressive. Merka was also ravaged by the civil war, but the city was spared from destruction. The majority of the buildings are therefore still standing. The city, which was captured in 2008 by supporters of the radical Islamist al-Shabaab, was the main hub for international food aid for Somalia until 2006.

Mogadishu (also Muqdisho)

Mogadishu – The capital of Somalia, so poetically described as the “seat of the Shah”, is currently classified as the most lawless and dangerous city on earth and should not be visited under any circumstances. In the deeply chaotic and bizarre city, for example, you can buy uncontrolled weapons alongside the most mundane things at Bakara Market. Mogadishu, located in the south of the country on the Benadir coast of the Indian Ocean, once the largest city in Somalia with millions and millions, was hit extremely hard by the civil war, which set in motion a devastating movement of refugees and migrants. Cautious estimates suggest that only around 380,000 people remain in Mogadishu – more than 600,000 have escaped the chaos of violence, chaos and poverty. Eyewitnesses report that only a few inner-city residential buildings and houses near the presidential seat, Villa Somalia, are still regularly inhabited. Nevertheless, Mogadishu has remained the economic center of Somalia. The city has an international airport and an important seaport.

Special structures

Arba-Rucun Mosque in Mogadishu

The “Mosque of the Four Pillars” rises in Mogadishu and is one of the most valuable structures of the city’s Islamic heritage. The Islamic structure, constructed in 1269, was also luckier than the neighboring cathedral and is one of the few buildings in the historic center of Mogadishu that has not been bombed into ruin. According to legend, the Arba Rucun Mosque was built by a direct successor to the Prophet Mohammed.

Fakr-ad-Din Mosque (also Fakhr al Din or Fakhruddin) in Mogadishu

Mogadishu’s oldest mosque is also one of the oldest Islamic buildings in all of Africa. The church rises between Mogadishu’s districts of Sheikh Muumin and Hamar Weyne and was built in 1269 by the first Sultan Mogadishus in the so-called Shirazi style. The Fakr-ad-Din Mosque, made of coral and Indian marble, offers – measured by East African standards – a lot of space for many believers.

Mogadiscio Stadium in Mogadishu

The Somali national stadium is located in Mogadishu and was built under Siad Barre with the help of Chinese engineers. In its past, the stadium was used for many sports and other events. In total, the Mogadiscio Stadium can accommodate around 35,000 spectators.

Villa Somalia in Mogadishu

The Villa Somalia is the Somali presidential palace in the capital Mogadishu. It rises near the shore to the Indian Ocean and was last used by Siad Barre. After its fall in 1991, the palace was contested. Today the Somalis villa belongs to the country’s transitional government. At the beginning of 2007, unknown persons shot at the Somalia villa with mortars.

Cave paintings

Dhambalin near Beenyo Dhaadheer

In the Somali region of Togdheer in Somaliland is Dhambalin, a sandstone rock roof in which prehistoric cave paintings were found in 2007, which show cattle, goats and wild animals as well as the earliest representations of sheep found in Somalia. The drawings date from between 5000 and 3000 BC. Chr.

Laas Geel (or Laas Gaal) near Hargeisa

The small rock massif near Hargeisa in the Somali north is known for its caves, in which historical cave paintings from a period between 4000 and 3000 BC can be seen. Has discovered. These are among the earliest known drawings in Africa. Cows and people were drawn in multicolored depictions, but also a dog and a giraffe. The Laas Geel caves and their paintings are now on the World Monuments Fund’s list of most endangered cultural monuments.


Hope University in Hargeisa Hope University, founded in Hargeisa in

2008, owes its existence to Professor Najib Sheikh Abdulkarim and the support of Somali intellectuals from home and abroad. The university has focused on the fields of technology, health and science management.

Mogadishu University in Mogadishu

The non-governmental and non-profit university in Mogadishu opened its doors in 1997, while another branch in Boosaaso (in Puntland) should follow in 2008. The University of Mogadishu has five faculties as well as the Institute for Somali Studies and the Center for Continued Education.

Somaliland University of Technology in Hargeisa

The only purely technical university in Somalia is in Hargeisa and therefore in Somaliland. The university was founded as a small, non-profit educational institution by Dr. Saeed Sheikh Mohamed in 2000. At that time it was still called Hargeisa College of Applied Arts & Technology.

Somali National University in Mogadishu

The former Somali National University – founded in 1954 – has now been closed “thanks” to the Somali civil war and the severe war damage.

University of Benadir in Mogadishu

The university, also located in Mogadishu, was built in 2002 as a medical school to train prospective Somali doctors. It currently has four faculties. On December 3, 2009, during a university graduation ceremony at the Shamo Hotel, a bomb exploded, killing at least 22 people, including three government ministers.

University of Hargeisa

The University of Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, founded in 2000, currently teaches more than 2,600 students. It has seven faculties and three more, which are currently still under construction.

More Attractions

Bakara market in Mogadishu

The Bakara market (Somali for grain silo) in Mogadishu is nothing less than the largest market in all of Somalia. Here you can feel the bizarre spirit of Africa when you can buy fake IDs and even weapons in addition to food and everyday goods. The structured chaos was opened in 1972 by Siad Barre, who wanted to modernize Mogadishu with it. The Bakara market is divided into different areas, although the arms market with the beautiful name Cir-toogte (= shot in the sky) is not the least interesting, albeit the most disturbing. The unusual name of this market section comes from the fact that the potential buyer has tested the weapon by shooting it in the air before buying it.

Natural beauties

Sheikh Mountains and Daallo Mountains near Hargeisa

The Sheikh and Daallo Mountains are located near Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, and offer wonderful and fascinating wildlife. Kudu, gazelles and various bird species make up the wealth of fauna – at least before the civil war.


The Shimbiris (also Shimbir Beris) is the highest mountain in Somalia at 2,450 meters. It rises in the Somali highlands in the north of the country on the soil of the internationally not recognized Somaliland. Translated, the name of the mountain means “place of the birds”.

Somali Beach near Mogadishu

Somali Beach near Mogadishu is a beautiful gem that families like to visit on weekends. We cannot say what the current beach situation is like. Usually, however, it is an ideal place to relax, even if women are only allowed to go into the water fully clothed because of the Shari’a.

National parks and game reserves in Somalia

Somalia can call two large national parks its own. While the Kismayu National Park extends in the south of the country, the Hargeisa National Park extends in the north of Somalia. What both have in common, however, is the multitude of different animals and species, which include much more than “just” elephants, giraffes and impressive venomous snakes. The civil war and the conflicts that flared up again and again have hit the parks hard, because both are in contested areas and are not (no longer) particularly protected. Unfortunately, there is no information available about whether and to what extent the animal population in the parks has suffered from the violence and poverty of the population.

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