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A photography exhibition comparing the cosmopolitan city of Mogadishu before and after the civil war opens in Nairobi next week. One of the photographers, Kenyan journalist Rasna Warah explains how a chance conversation sparked this opportunity to restore our collective appreciation of this once-vibrant metropolis.

In this extract from their forthcoming book, Rasna Warah and Mohamud Diriye recount the history of Mogadishu from its origins in Arab and Persian trade to the outbreak of civil war in 1991.

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On Mogadishu

It is extremely difficult, as I found out, to convince people that this historic city was once a modern metropolis with wide boulevards, restaurants, cinemas, museums, libraries and theatres.

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The Global Urbanist is an online magazine reviewing urban affairs and urban development issues in cities throughout the developed and developing world.

Its readers are drawn from the urban policy and international development sectors, and include urban planners, officers in local, national or international government agencies, civil society leaders, and researchers.

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