Harare is the capital and most populous city of Zimbabwe. Situated in the north-east of the country in the heart of historic Mashonaland, the city has an estimated population of 1,606,000 in 2009, with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area in 2006.
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 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.
Harare is Zimbabwe’s largest city, as well as its administrative, commercial, manufacturing, communications, and educational center, and serves as a distribution point for the surrounding agricultural and gold-mining areas. The city is a trade center for tobacco, maize, cotton, and citrus fruits. Manufactures include textiles, steel, and chemicals. Factories produce processed food, beverages, cigarettes, building materials, and plastics. Gold is mined in the area. Zimbabwe’s per capita GDP was estimated at $200 in 2007.
Places to visit
The Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences, also known as the Queen Victoria Museum is a museum in Harare, Zimbabwe. The museum contains the seven-hundred-year-old Lemba artifact ngoma lungundu, which some believe to be an replica of the Ark of the Covenant. It is the oldest wooden object ever found in sub-Saharan Africa.
Lake Chivero is a reservoir on the Manyame River in Zimbabwe. It was also called Lake McIlwaine in memory of Sir Robert Mcllwaine, a former judge of the High Court and founder of Zimbabwe’s soil and water conservation movement. Located southwest of Harare, it provides the main water supply for the city.
Things to do
The Book Cafe has a wide variety of live music throughout the week Mondays are for amateur musicians only, there is another club that plays Afro-jazz right next door.
The Kopje, a granite hill rising above the southwest corner of central Harare, is a great place to go for views of the full city.