Ancient Ruins in Ainabo - Central Somaliland (cont.)
By Musa Hersi
Badwein (big sea)
This place marks the eastern corner of the area in question, and it will suffice to quote the comments of one of the first European explorers ever to venture into Somaliland, E. Sloane, who reached Badwein on 7 March 1891. He wrote the following account of what he saw there:
We marched north-east to Badwein, where we found more wells, and a large tank of water, four hundred yards in circumference, with perpendicular sides forty feet deep, supposed to have been excavated in the limestone rocks by ancient Gallas [a Hamitic people of Ethiopia, also known as the Oromo, whose language is related to Somali). Ruins, which rise half smothered from among a tangle of aloes and thorn-jungle close by, cover an area of forty thousand square yards, and in some of the houses the walls are still ten feet high. E___ rode into a large house or temple, to find it two hundred feet long and one hundred feet wide, divided by a number of partition walls. They are built of limestone, much decomposed by rain, and are supposed to be the work of Gallas, but no one knows who built them. Some of the Somalis say they date back to the time of a race before the Gallas" " (Page 91)
125 years after Mr Sloane made these depictions, the site still remains the same today.
Halibixisay (Camel's find)
The site is named after a local well that waters the livestock of the indigenous nomadic community. Legend has it that a thirsty camel found the well by sniffing the water in the well hole from afar and guided people into it.
What distinguishes this place is the concentration of mounds dotting the whole landscape of several square kilometres. These structures, with stones not piled haphazardly but built together in a more systematic way, are quite different from the occasional hilltop mounds customarily seen on all the hilly terrain of eastern Somaliland, which are mainly heaps of rock.
One of the many strange mounds strewn about at Halibixisay Site.
The sheer number of the mounds at Halibixisay is quite astounding, dotting the whole area, many of them smothered by a thickset jungle of acacia, thistle and aloe plants. Although I have not made a proper count, I estimate there are up to hundred individual mounds in that particular site. Many of these structures are literally crumbling due to their great age coupled with the impact of the elements, but a bigger threat comes from the presence in the area of army units with some heavy equipment. I have seen them remove stones for trenches and other building purposes. This vandalising and also the general impact of an army and its armoured personnel carriers and other heavy trucks towing artillery, may cause untold damage to these already very fragile ruins.
Cayaar-salaqle (naked dance place)
There is also a huge mound looking like a small hill with a collapsed top forming an unusual cavity. Scattered about at the mouth and inside the cave are huge rocks, chiselled and formed into rectangular and square shapes with ruler sharp sides. One would think at first glance these are the material of the ceiling of the collapsed roof of the edifice. The most interesting thing one would notice is the shape of the rocks, some of them collapsed and some still at the ceiling, which are well carved as if fashioned by the skilled hand of a mason. Local people say the cave stretches and fans out far and wide with drawings, carved stones and other manmade impressions. The masonry at the mouth of the cave and the local reports of drawings deep inside inadvertently prompted me to think this small hillock to be a buried pyramid or some other sort of mega-building. There is no doubt this is not a normal cave