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—  City  —


Coat of arms
Sunshine City, H Town
Motto: Pamberi Nekushandira Vanhu (Forward with Service to the People)
Harare is located in Zimbabwe
Coordinates: 17°51′50″S 31°1′47″E Coordinates: 17°51′50″S 31°1′47″E
Country Zimbabwe
Province Harare
Founded as Fort Salisbury 1890
Incorporated (city) 1935
Renamed to Harare 1982
 •  Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda
 • City 960.6 km2 (370.9 sq mi)
Elevation 1,490 m (4,890 ft)
Population (2009)
 • City 1,606,000
 • Density 2,540/km2 (4,330/sq mi)
 •  Urban 2,800,111
Demonym Hararean
Time zone CAT ( UTC+2)
Area code(s) 4
Twin cities
 • Nottingham United Kingdom
 • Munich Germany
 •  Cincinnati United States
 •  Prato Italy
 •  Lago Italy
Dialling code 4 (or 04 from within Zimbabwe)

Harare (pron.: / h ə ˈ r ɑr /; before 1982 known as Salisbury) is the largest city and capital of Zimbabwe. It has an estimated population of 1,606,000 (2009), with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area (2006). Administratively, Harare is an independent city equivalent to a province. It is Zimbabwe's largest city and its administrative, commercial, and communications centre. The city is a trade centre for tobacco, maize, cotton, and citrus fruits. Manufactures 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.


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.

Post-independence (1980–1998)

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 Shona chieftain Neharawa. It is also said the name derived from the European corruption of "Haarari" ("He does not sleep"), the epithet of the chief whose citadel was located in the area known today as the Kopje (pronounced "Koppie"). It was said that no enemy could ever launch a sneak attack on him. Prior to independence, "Harare" was the name of the Black residential area now known as Mbare.

Economic difficulties and hyperinflation (1999–2008)

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.

Operation Murambatsvina

In May 2005 the Zimbabwean government demolished shanties and backyard cottages in Harare and the other cities in the country in Operation Murambatsvina ("Drive Out Trash"). This caused a sharp reaction in the international community because it took place without prior warning and no advance plans were made to provide alternative housing. It was widely alleged that the true purpose of the campaign was to punish the urban poor for supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and to reduce the likelihood of mass action against the government by driving people out of the cities. The government claimed it was necessitated by a rise of criminality and disease. This was followed by Operation Garikayi/Hlalani Kuhle (Operation "Better Living") a year later which consisted of building concrete housing.

Recovery (2009–present)

In late March 2010, Harare's Joina City Tower was finally opened after 14 years of on-off construction. It has since changed the city skyline and has been dubbed Harare's new Pride. Nevertheless, the project has encountered financial difficulty; due to ongoing economic problems, occupancy has remained at only 3% as of November 2011.

The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Harare as the world's least livable city in 2011.



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, 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 °C (44.6 °F) to 20 °C (68.0 °F) in July (the coldest month), about 13 °C (55.4 °F) to 28 °C (82.4 °F) in October (the hottest month) and about 15.5 °C (59.9 °F) to 25 °C (77.0 °F) in January (midsummer). The hottest year on record was 1914 19.73 °C (67.5 °F) and the coldest year was 1965 17.13 °C (62.8 °F).

The average annual rainfall is about 825 mm in the southwest, rising to 855 mm 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.

Climate data for Harare
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32
Average high °C (°F) 26.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 21.0
Average low °C (°F) 15.8
Record low °C (°F) 8
Precipitation mm (inches) 190.8
Avg. precipitation days 17 14 10 5 2 1 0 1 1 5 10 16 82
Mean monthly sunshine hours 217.0 192.1 232.5 249.0 269.7 264.0 279.0 300.7 294.0 285.2 231.0 198.4 3,012.6
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization Hong Kong Observatory (sun 1961-1990)
Source #2: BBC Weather

International venue

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 Africa's largest international arts festivals: Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), which has featured such acclaimed artists as Cape Verdean singer Sara Tavares. The theme for the 2013 edition (30 May - April 5) will be themed "What's Next..." reflecting a sense of positive progress.


Harare International Airport

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, 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; however, a number of factors have combined to effectively eliminate all media except those controlled by the state.

The government controls all the electronic media, though Voice of America, Voice of the people and SW Radio Africa beam broadcasts into the country without the clearance of the regulatory authority.


During late 2012, plans to build a new capital district in Mt. Hampden, about twenty kilometers north-west of Harare's central business district, were announced and illustrations shown in Harare's daily newspapers. The location of this new district would imply an expansion of Harare using up space in the country's Mashonaland West province. The plan generated varied opinions.

Notable landmarks and institutions

  • CBZ Holdings
  • Cairns Holdings
  • Data Control & Systems
  • Dynamos F.C.
  • CAPS United F.C.
  • Gwanzura
  • 44 Harvest House
  • Mbare Musika
  • Mushandirapamwe Hotel
  • National Gallery of Zimbabwe
  • Net*One
  • Parirenyatwa Hospital
  • Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
  • Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Harare
  • Rufaro Stadium
  • Sam Nujoma Street
  • University of Zimbabwe
  • Zimbabwe Stock Exchange
  • Zimbabwe Grounds
  • Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences
  • National Sports Stadium
  • Heroes Acre
  • Borrowdale Race Course
  • Sam Levy Village
  • Eastgate Centre
  • Westgate
  • Zanu Pf Headquarters
  • KG6
  • Munhumatapa Hotel
  • Livingstone House
  • Karigamombe Centre
  • ICL Building
  • NSSA House
  • Rainbow Towers - formerly Sheraton Hotel
  • Harare Sports Club

Sister cities

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