Harare (/həˈrɑreɪ/; officially called Salisbury until 1982) is the capital of Zimbabwe. It is the country's seat of government and largest city, with an estimated population of 1,606,000 (2009), with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area (2006).
Administratively, Harare is a metropolitan province, which also incorporates Chitungwiza town and Epworth. It is Zimbabwe's leading financial, commercial, and communications centre, and a trade centre for tobacco, maize, cotton, and citrus fruits. Manufactured goods include textiles, steel and chemicals, and gold is mined in the area. Harare is situated at an elevation of 1483 metres (4865 feet) and its climate falls into the warm temperate category.
Harare is the site of the University of Zimbabwe, the largest institution of higher learning in Zimbabwe, which is situated in the suburb of Mount Pleasant, about 6 km north of the city centre. Numerous suburbs surround the city, retaining the names colonial administrators gave them during the 19th century, such as Warren Park, Borrowdale, Mount Pleasant, Marlborough, Tynwald and Avondale; the most affluent suburbs are to the north of the city.
Colonial period (1890–1979)
The Pioneer Column hoists the Union Jack on the kopje overlooking the city, 13 September 1890. 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.
The area at the time of founding of the city was poorly drained and earliest development was on sloping ground along the left bank of a stream that is now the course of a trunk road (Julius Nyerere Way). The first area to be fully drained was near the head of the stream and was named Causeway as a result. This area is now the site of many of the most important government buildings, including the Senate House and the Office of the Prime Minister, now renamed for the use of President Mugabe after the position was abolished in January 1988.
Salisbury was the capital of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland from 1953 to 1963. After that point, it was the capital of Southern Rhodesia. The government of Ian Smith declared Rhodesia independent from the United Kingdom on November 11, 1965, and proclaimed the Republic of Rhodesia in 1970. Subsequently, the nation became the short-lived state of Zimbabwe Rhodesia; it was not until April 18, 1980, that the country was internationally recognized 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 April 18, 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.
The city sits on the one of the higher parts of the Highveld plateau of Zimbabwe at an elevation of 1483 metres (4865 feet). The original landscape could be described as a "parkland."
Harare has a pleasant subtropical highland climate (Köppen Cwb). 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 hottest year on record was 1914 with 19.73 °C (67.5 °F) and the coldest year was 1965 with 17.13 °C (62.8 °F).
The average annual rainfall is about 825 mm (32.5 in) in the southwest, rising to 855 mm (33.7 in) on the higher land of the northeast (from around Borrowdale to Glen Lorne). Very little rain typically falls during the period May to September, although sporadic showers occur most years. Rainfall varies a great deal from year to year and follows cycles of wet and dry periods from 7 to 10 years long. Records begin in October 1890 but all three Harare stations stopped reporting in early 2004.
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.
Harare has been the location of several international summits such as the 8th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (6 September 1986) and Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 1991. The latter produced the Harare Declaration, dictating the membership criteria of the Commonwealth. In 1998 Harare was the host city of the 8th Assembly of the World Council of Churches.
In 1995, Harare hosted most of the 6th All-Africa Games, sharing the event with other Zimbabwean cities such as Bulawayo and Chitungwiza. It has hosted some of the matches of 2003 Cricket World Cup which was hosted jointly by Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Several of the matches were also held in Bulawayo.
The city is also the site of one of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), which has featured such acclaimed artists as Cape Verdean singer Sara Tavares.
City and its environs: The public transport system within the city includes both public and private sector operations. The former consist of ZUPCO buses and National Railways of Zimbabwe commuter trains. Privately owned public transport comprised licensed station wagons, nicknamed emergency taxis until the mid-1990s, when they were replaced by licensed buses and minibuses, referred to officially as commuter omnibuses.
Inter-City: The National Railways of Zimbabwe operates a daily overnight passenger train service that runs from Harare to Mutare and another one from Harare to Bulawayo. Harare is linked by long distance bus services to most parts of Zimbabwe.
Air: Harare International Airport serves Harare.
News and information
Residents are exposed to a variety of sources for information. In the print media, there is the Herald, Financial Gazette, Zimbabwe Independent, Standard, NewsDay,H-Metro, Daily News and Kwayedza. Since there has been an explosion of online media outlets. These include ZimOnline, ZimDaily, Guardian, NewZimbabwe, Times, Harare Tribune, Zimbabwe Metro, The Zimbabwean,The Zimbabwe Mail and many others.
Notable landmarks and institutions
Data Control & Systems
CAPS United F.C.
44 Harvest House
National Gallery of Zimbabwe
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Harare
Sam Nujoma Street
University of Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange
Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences
National Sports Stadium
Borrowdale Race Course
Sam Levy Village
Rainbow Towers - formerly Sheraton Hotel
Harare Sports Club
Avonlea Primary School