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Somaliland

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Souvenirs from Somaliland

Somaliland is a disputed region in Africa that has ties to colonial British governments from the 1960's. It was originally a part of Somalia until ethnic violence separated them in a civil war, with led to Somaliland declaring independence in 1991. As of this writing, it is not recognized by any nation as a self-governing entity. The location of Somaliland, bordered by the Puntland regions of Somalia, the Gulf of Aden, Djibouti and Ethiopia, means that you will be able to find native crafts from all of Africa, including tribal masks and weapons, pottery and jewelry, as Somali souvenirs. Embroidered and hand dyed clothing, carved wooden statues, and tin toys are other things you may find in the markets, in addition to spices, beads, baskets, woven mats and fetish statues. Of course, you can always find postcards of famous buildings, colorful refrigerator magnets and printed key chains as souvenirs from Somaliland.

The Arts in Somaliland

It can be an unexpected treasure to experience culture as the residents of a country do, finding the venues where local musicians play and authors do readings of their work. In Somaliland, it can be more difficult to find these opportunities, as there are no museums, galleries, music venues or gathering places for creatives. However, if you do some seeking, you will find lively debate and appreciation, especially for poetry. As befits a country of nomadic history, Somaliland is full of poets who carry on traditions using simply their voice to recall past events, current affairs and dreams of the future. Poetry recitals are often accompanied by a stringed instrument called an oud, to set the tone and atmosphere. Another easily found art form is mural painting, used by business to advertise wares and services. These brightly colored, highly stylistic scenes are both pragmatic and spectacular, making them great photo opportunities.

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