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Merca ( , ) is a port city on the coast of southern Somaliamarker, facing the Indian Oceanmarker. It is the main town in the Lower Shabelemarker region, and is located approximately 70 km (45 miles) southwest of the nation's capital, Mogadishumarker.


Merca was established in the 7th century by the Biyomaal clan. The first Somalis arrived in the city in the 6th century and gained control of the area and the local trade.

The Biyomaal and the Ashraaf of Merca fought against the Italian colonialists of Italian Somaliland in a twenty-year war known as the Biyamaal and Ashraaf Revolt in which many of their warriors assassinated several Italian governors. During the Biyamaal and Ashraaf Revolt, several prominent leaders were killed. Monuments erected in their memory can still be found in Merca.

In the late 20th century, the town gained a reputation as a beach resort, although it was subsequently severely damaged during the Somali Civil War. On 13 November 2008, Al-Shabaab took control of the city.


Although visual art is not popular in Somalia due to prevailing beliefs that it contradicts Islam's proscription on all forms of idolatry, a lot of the known visual art in the country derives from the small historical town of Merca. Known for its beautiful white sandy beaches and orange dunes, the city's pictoresque contrast of colors serves as an inspiration for local visual artists.

See also

External links

  • Osmanart - homepage of visual artist from Merca

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