Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe. It has an estimated population of 1,600,000, with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area (2006). Administratively, Harare is an independent city equivalent to a province. It is Zimbabwe's largest city and its administrative, commercial, and communications centre. The city is a trade centre for tobacco, maize, cotton, and citrus fruits. Manufactures include textiles, steel, and chemicals, and gold is mined in the area. Harare is situated at an elevation of 1483 metres (4865 feet) and its climate falls into the warm temperate category.
Harare is the site of the University of Zimbabwe, the largest and most complete institution of higher learning in Zimbabwe, which is situated about 5km north of the city. Numerous suburbs surround the city, retaining the names colonial administrators gave them during the 19th century, such as Warren Park 'D', Borrowdale, Mount Pleasant, Marlborough, Tynwald and Avondale.
Pioneer Column, a military volunteer force of settlers organised by Cecil Rhodes, founded the city in 1890 as a fort. They originally named the city Fort Salisbury after the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, then British prime minister, and it subsequently became known simply as Salisbury. It was declared to be a municipality in 1897 and it became a city in 1935. Salisbury was the capital of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland from 1953 to 1963. After that point, it was the capital of Southern Rhodesia. The government of Ian Smith declared Rhodesia independent of Great Britain on November 11, 1965, and proclaimed the Republic of Rhodesia in 1970. Subsequently, the nation became the short-lived state of Zimbabwe Rhodesia; it was not until April 18, 1980, that the country was internationally recognized as independent as the Republic of Zimbabwe. The capital city retained the name Salisbury until 1982.
The name of the city was changed to Harare on April 18, 1982, the second anniversary of Zimbabwean independence, taking its name from the Shona chieftain Neharawa. It is also said the name derived from the European corruption of "Haarari" ("He does not sleep"), the epithet of the chief whose citadel was located in the area known today as the Kopje (pronounced "Koppie"). It was said that no enemy could ever launch a sneak attack on him. Prior to independence, "Harare" was the name of the Black residential area now known as Mbare.
The area at the time of founding of the city was poorly drained and earliest development was on sloping ground along the left bank of a stream that is now the course of a trunk road (Julius Nyerere Way). The first area to be fully drained was near the head of the stream and was named Causeway as a result. This area is now the site of many of the most important Government buildings, including the Senate House and the Office of the Prime Minister (now renamed for the use of President Mugabe after the position was abolished in January 1988.)
Harare has a pleasant and healthy climate. The average annual temperature is 17.95°C, rather low for the tropics, and this is due to its high altitude position and the prevalence of a cool south-easterly airflow. There are three main seasons - a warm, wet season from November to March/April; a cool, dry season from May to August (corresponding to the Southern Hemisphere winter); and a hot, dry season in September/October. Daily temperature ranges are about 7°C to 20°C in July (coldest month), about 13°C to 28°C in October (hottest month) and about 15.5°C to 25°C in January (midsummer). The hottest year on record was 1914 - 19.73°C - and the coldest year was 1965 - 17.13°C. The average annual rainfall is about 825mm in the south-west rising to 855mm on the higher land in the north-east (around Borrowdale to Glen Lorne). Very little rain usually falls during the period May to September although sporadic showers occur in most years. Rainfall varies a great deal from year to year and follows cycles of wet and dry periods that are from 7 to 10 years long. Records begin in October 1890 but all three Harare stations stopped reporting in early 2004.
Harare Sports Club is a cricket ground in Harare, Zimbabwe.Initially known as Salisbury Sports Club, Harare Sports Club has served as the primary cricket venue in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe since its inception. The ground became a Test venue in October 1992 when Zimbabwe played their inaugural Test, against India. Soon after, the ground played host to its first One Day International. In 1994, Harare Sports Club was the site of Zimbabwe's first ever Test win.Surrounded by jacaranda trees and with a beautiful gabled pavilion, Harare Sports Club is in the heart of the city. It is bordered by the heavily-guarded presidential palace on one side and the prestigious Royal Harare Golf Club on another. HSC hosted Zimbabwe's first Test in October 1992 and has been the country's major Test and one-day venue since. Although the club itself does not possess any of the major stands associated with major sports grounds, the capacity of around 10,000 can be increased by the use of temporary stands - a record crowd of 26,000 saw Rhodesia play the MCC in 1956. However, that capacity is rarely tested and even games against major touring sides fail to draw any other than moderate crowds. The main social centre is the pavilion with its popular bar, and the other end of the ground is home to Castle Corner, the alternative and usually lively bar. HSC is also home to the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, the country's cricket board.The ground has a capacity of 10,000.
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Harare has been the location of several international summits such as the 8th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (6 September 1986) and Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (1991). The latter produced the Harare Declaration, dictating the membership criteria of the Commonwealth. In 1995, Harare hosted most of the 6th All-Africa Games, sharing the event with other Zimbabwean cities such as Bulawayo and Chitungwiza.
The public transport system of buses, run by ZUPCO has crumbled in recent years. Instead there has been a proliferation of privately owned companies that operate commuter omnibuses. With the advent of the fuel crisis in the country, the government introduced commuter trains in order to ease transport shortages.
Harare International Airport serves Harare. The National Railways of Zimbabwe, NRZ operate a daily overnight passenger train service that runs from Harare to Mutare and another one from Harare to Bulawayo.
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