Somalia: Mogadishu Lighthouse
The Mogadishu Lighthouse is the most iconic landmark building in the city, simultaneously representing its glorious past, disastrous years of civil war, and the ruinous present. The lighthouse was built in early 1900s by Italians on a pier next to the harbor on the right and the most luxurious waterfront on the left. Hotels, banks, and large villas lined up the waterfront next to the lighthouse making Mogadishu the true jewel of Africa. Fast forward to today – and everything is in ruins. The abandoned lighthouse stands as a bizarre monument to a nuclear-like apocalypse that has brought Mogadishu down to essentially rubble. Local fishermen live inside and work on their fiberglass boat hulls nearby. All the once grand somali-Italian style architecture around the lighthouse now consists of bullet-ridden skeletons and utter destruction. But, despite all this, life goes on – and kids splash in the water, fishermen take boats out to see, and the area is even safe to get out of the car and walk around (with my four Kalashnikov-armed bodyguards forming a solid perimeter around me).