Harare officially called Salisbury until 1982 is the capital and most populous city of Zimbabwe.
Situated in the north-east of the country in the heart of historic Mashonaland, is home to some two million people, with most in central Harare but some 500,000 in the surrounding districts of Rural Harare, Chintungwiza and Epworth.
Once a city of modern buildings, wide thoroughfares, numerous parks and gardens, it suffered from increasing disrepair thanks to Zimbabwe's economic downward spiral. However, there have recently been a few signs of improvement as the decision of the country to adopt the US dollar as its currency has begun to facilitate some investments.
|TIME ZONE :||CAT (UTC+2)|
|LANGUAGE :||English (official), Shona, Sindebele|
|RELIGION :||syncretic (part Christian, part indigenous beliefs) 50%, Christian 25%, indigenous beliefs 24%, other 1%|
|AREA :||960.6 km2 (370.9 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||1,490 m (4,890 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||17°51′50″S 31°1′47″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.35% |
• Female: 50.65%
|ETHNIC :||African 98%, mixed and Asian 1%, white less than 1%|
|AREA CODE :||4|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+263 4|
There is a strong appreciation for the city's cultural and historical heritage and a number of the older buildings have been preserved. The Mining Pension Fund Building at Central Avenue and Second Street is one example and many more are to be found along Robert Mugabe Road between Second Street and Julius Nyerere Way.
The Book Cafe has a wide variety of live music throughout the week, and there is another club that plays Afro-jazz right next door.
All purchases in larger stores are made with US dollars, which is the national currency.
Anything made locally is inexpensive. Packets of Zimbabwe cigarettes cost $0.50 (as of April 2010). Everything that is imported is relatively expensive compared to South Africa. Cans of Coca-cola typically cost $1, for example.
The Pioneer Column, a military volunteer force of settlers organised by Cecil Rhodes, founded the city on 12 September 1890 as a fort. They originally named the city Fort Salisbury after The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, then British prime minister, and it subsequently became known simply as Salisbury. The Salisbury Polo Club was formed in 1896. It was declared to be a municipality in 1897 and it became a city in 1935.
Salisbury was the capital of the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia from 1923, and of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland from 1953 to 1963. Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front government declared Rhodesia independent from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965, and proclaimed the Republic of Rhodesia in 1970. Subsequently, the nation became the short-lived state of Zimbabwe Rhodesia; it was not until 18 April 1980 that the country was internationally recognised as independent as the Republic of Zimbabwe.
The capital city retained the name Salisbury until 1982.
The name of the city was changed to Harare on 18 April 1982, the second anniversary of Zimbabwean independence, taking its name from the village near Harare Kopje of the Shona chief Neharawa, whose nickname was "he who does not sleep". Prior to independence, "Harare" was the name of the black residential area now known as Mbare.
In the early 21st century Harare has been adversely affected by the political and economic crisis that is currently plaguing Zimbabwe, after the contested 2002 presidential election and 2005 parliamentary elections. The elected council was replaced by a government-appointed commission for alleged inefficiency, but essential services such as rubbish collection and street repairs have rapidly worsened, and are now virtually non-existent. In May 2006 the Zimbabwean newspaper the Financial Gazette, described the city in an editorial as a "sunshine city-turned-sewage farm".In 2009, Harare was voted to be the toughest city to live in according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's livability poll.
Harare has a pleasant subtropical highland climate.
The average annual temperature is 17.95 °C (64.3 °F), rather low for the tropics, and this is due to its high altitude position and the prevalence of a cool south-easterly airflow.
There are three main seasons: a warm, wet season from November to March/April; a cool, dry season from May to August (corresponding to winter in the Southern Hemisphere); and a hot, dry season in September/October.
Daily temperature ranges are about 7–22 °C (45–72 °F) in July (the coldest month), about 15–29 °C (59–84 °F) in October (the hottest month) and about 16–26 °C (61–79 °F) in January (midsummer).
The climate supports a natural vegetation of open woodland. The most common tree of the local region is the Msasa Brachystegia spiciformis that colours the landscape wine red with its new leaves in late August. Two South American species of trees, the Jacaranda and the Flamboyant, which were introduced during the colonial era, contribute to the city's colour palette with streets lined with either the lilac blossoms of the Jacaranda or the flame red blooms from the Flamboyant. They flower in October/November and are planted on alternative streets in the capital. Also prevalent is Bougainvillea.
Internet is available in hotels and at one or two internet cafes, but the service is slow and irregular.
Cell phone coverage around Harare is good. SIM cards can be easily purchased at a low price. Problems can be experienced with international calls, however. International landline calls are also still unreliable.
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