The Ruined Beauty of Mogadishu Lighthouse

The haunting ruins of Mogadishu Lighthouse in Somalia. (Image: Boris Kester/Around the World in 80 Clicks. Ruined Mogadishu Lighthouse)

Few places in the world have endured such a chaotic existence over the decades as Somalia’s troubled capital, Mogadishu. It was described by National Geographic writer Robert Draper as “…ground zero for the failed state of Somalia, a place where pirates and terrorists rule.” Yet when he and his photographer, Pascal Maitre, visited the city, they discovered that some residents had found a special, quiet – if not exactly safe – place to lie low for even just a short while. That place was in the ruins of the lighthouse, a building that still stands resolute in spite of all that has befallen it; despite the holes in the walls and the floor, and the overwhelming smell of rot and filth.

Inside the crumbling Mogadishu Lighthouse. (Image: Boris Kester/Around the World in 80 Clicks)

Around the World in 80 Clicks visited the Mogadishu Lighthouse in 2014, reporting that the forlorn sentinel still had a caretaker, technically. Residing in one of the tower’s remaining rooms, he escorted the travellers to the top of the once-beautiful structure. There, he told them of its Italian design and construction (though other sources indicate that the structure may be pre-colonial) around a century ago.

Mogadishu Lighthouse (Image: Boris Kester/Around the World in 80 Clicks)

From the top, the view was that of a war-torn city and a sprawling, sandy beach that gave way to the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean. They reflect on how, before the destruction, the lighthouse stood in one of the most beautiful parts of the city, and traces of that beauty still remain.

(Image: Boris Kester/Around the World in 80 Clicks)

This lost elegance only serves to make the fate of the Mogadishu Lighthouse all the more heart-rending, a sad end for a building that once stood for safety and security. For some, of course, it still does.

Related: 10 Abandoned Lighthouses with Strange & Tragic Histories



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