Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Dar es Salaam (دار السلام‎) is the biggest city in Tanzania. It is also the country’s financial and economic hub. It served as the capital until 1974, when the capital was relocated to Dodoma. Dar es Salaam covers 1590.5 sq km (614 sq mi) and has a metropolitan population of 2.5 million people. The city is three hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+3).

Compared to other major cities on the Swahili coast of East Africa, Dar es Salaam has a short history. Until the 19th century, it was just another fishing village facing the Indian Ocean called Mzizima.

In 1865 the ruler of Zanzibar, Sultan Majid bin Said, chose Mzizima for a new port city, called Bandar as Salam, which means in Arabic “peaceful harbor”. There was some mixed up in the spelling, and it becomes Dar es Salaam, Arabic for “peaceful house”.

Dar es Salaam went into decline following the demise of Sultan Majid in 1870, but its fortune reversed when the German East Africa Company chose it as a base for their commercial and administrative center. The construction of the Central Railway Line in the early 20th century further fueled its growth.

Following World War I, German East Africa fell into the hands of the British and henceforth was known as Tanganyika, with Dar es Salaam as its administrative center. Following independence in 1961, Dar es Salaam continued to serve as the capital of Tanganyika, and later of Tanzania, it merged with Zanzibar. In 1973, when plans were put in motion to move the capital to Dodoma, which is more centrally located. Despite losing its role as capital, Dar es Salaam remains the biggest and most important city in Tanzania.

Dar es Salaam experiences a tropical climate with fairly uniform temperature through the year. Daytime temperature hovers between 28°C and 31°C while night time temperature between 19°C and 25°C.

Visiting Dar es Salaam

The Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR), located 10 km from downtown Dar es Salaam, is the gateway for most international visitors. There are taxis from the airport to the city center. The fare is between 10,000TSh and 20,000TSh.

Places of Interest to visit in Dar es Salaam

  1. Kaole ruins
    Ruins of an ancient Muslim village from the 13th to the 16th century, located on the road to Bagomoyo, an hour north of Dar es Salaam.

  2. Kigamboni
    Some of the best beaches in Dar es Salaam.

  3. National Museum
    One of the biggest museums in Tanzania, this museum displays photographs and items related to the human history of the country.

  4. St Joseph’s Metropolitan Cathedral
    One of the biggest churches in Dar es Salaam, built in the late 19th century.

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