Las Khorey (Somali: Laasqoray, Arabic: لاسقُرَى Lāsqoray) is an ancient coastal city in the northern Sanaag region of Somaliland. Situated in the Las Khorey District, it is notable as the historic capital of the Warsangali Sultanate.
View of a residential area in old Las Khorey.
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The Las Khorey settlement is several centuries old. Between the town and El Ayo lies Karinhegane, the site of numerous cave paintings of real and mythical animals. Each painting has an inscription below it, which collectively have been estimated to be around 2,500 years old. Around 25 miles from Las Khorey is found Gelweita, another key rock art site. Karinhegane's rock art is in the same distinctive Ethiopian-Arabian style as the Laas Gaal cave paintings.
Beginning in the early Middle Ages, Las Khorey served as the capital of the Warsangali Sultanate (Maakhir Coast Sultanate)'s ruling dynasty, including the influential Sultan Mohamoud Ali Shire. Sultan Shire administered his Sultanate from a large two-storey palace (Sha’a) in the city. He also maintained a fortress, which, though now mostly in ruins, still remains an important historical structure.
Northern Somaliland in general is home to numerous such archaeological sites, with similar edifices found at Haylan, Qa’ableh, Qombo'ul and El Ayo. However, many of these old structures have yet to be properly explored, a process which would help shed further light on local history and facilitate their preservation for posterity.
Las Khorey is a city that is booming and experiencing a period of rapid growth as new small factories are being created and opened, including a fish factory.
As with other cities and districts in the Sanaag region, Las Khorey's commercial and labor sectors were historically neglected by several of Somalia's various federal administrations, with the town's population count consequently plummeting. However, this trend appears to be reversing, as many people have begun working in the city's new factories. Another reason for the growth in population is that after the civil war broke out, Somalis from the Warsangali sub-clan of the Darod began migrating back to their traditional strongholds in northern Somalia, including Las Khorey.
The city is also surrounded by a mountain range referred to locally as Cal Madow, which reportedly has valuable but as yet unexploited mineral deposits. This is in addition to the area's overall unique natural habitat.
Las Khorey has a jetty-class seaport, the Port of Las Khorey. Horn Relief (now Adeso), an organization founded by Somali environmentalist Fatima Jibrell, began a project for the redevelopment of the 400-year-old seaport. The initiative was later taken up by Faisal Hawar, CEO of the Maakhir Resource Company. In 2012, he brokered an agreement with a Greek investment firm for the development of the commercial Las Khorey Port. A team of engineers was subsequently enlisted by the Puntland authorities to assess the ongoing renovations taking place at the seaport. According to the Minister of Ports, Saeed Mohamed Ragge, the Puntland government intends to launch more such development projects in Las Khorey.
Las Khorey has a population of around 8,400 inhabitants. The broader Las Khorey District has a total population of 34,724 residents. The city is primarily inhabited by people from the Somali ethnic group, with the Warsangali especially well-represented.
Las Khorey has a number of academic institutions. According to the Puntland Ministry of Education, there are 8 primary schools in the Las Khorey District. Among these are Xidid, Ragaad, Shaaca and Ulxeed.
Las Khorey has green mountains to its east known as Cal Madow. The Cal Madow mountain range is considered a world-class exploration area, with a petroleum system identical to and formerly contiguous with those within the Republic of Yemen.
Las Khorey boasts white beaches and crystal clear sea water flanked by an abundant reef. When not at the beach, visitors can also visit coffee shops where khat is available, or an internet café. In addition, there are many hotels and guest houses ready to accommodate tourists.
The best period during which to visit the city is between September and May. This coincides with the rainy season; the heat in the summertime is generally unbearable for outsiders. On the outskirts of the city one can find mountains and grasslands, complete with wildlife and unique trees. All of this serves to create a panoramic view.
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