El Ayo

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El Ayo


Historic structures in El Ayo.
Historic structures in El Ayo.
El Ayo is located in Somalia
El Ayo
El Ayo
Coordinates: 11°14′44″N 48°53′33″E / 11.24556°N 48.89250°E / 11.24556; 48.89250Coordinates: 11°14′44″N 48°53′33″E / 11.24556°N 48.89250°E / 11.24556; 48.89250
Country Somalia
 • Total85,000
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)

El Ayo (Somali: Ceelaayo, Arabic: عيلايو‎), also known as El Ayum, is a coastal town in the northern Sanaag region of Somalia.


El Ayo is one of a series of ancient settlements in northern Somalia. About one mile from the town are the ruins of an old city, which are held to have belonged to an earlier civilization. Between El Ayo and Las Khorey 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.[1][2] Karinhegane's rock art is in the same distinctive Ethiopian-Arabian style as the Laas Geel cave paintings.[3]

Additionally, a number of small- to medium-sized cairns are especially concentrated on the plain that lies between the coast adjacent to El Ayo and an inland ridge around 2 km in length.[4] Northern Somalia in general is home to numerous such archaeological sites, with similar edifices found at Haylan, Qa’ableh, Qombo'ul and Maydh. 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.[1]

El Ayo was also an early local hub of Islam, with the religion spreading through maritime enterprise with and immigration from the Middle East.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hodd, Michael (1994). East African Handbook. Trade & Travel Publications. p. 640. ISBN 0844289833.
  2. ^ Ali, Ismail Mohamed (1970). Somalia Today: General Information. Ministry of Information and National Guidance, Somali Democratic Republic. p. 295.
  3. ^ "Rock Art Sites of Somaliland". CyArk. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  4. ^ Chittick, Neville (1975). An Archaeological Reconnaissance of the Horn: The British-Somali Expedition. pp. 117–133.
  5. ^ Yusuf, Jama. "Maakhir: knowledge and civilization home of Somalia". Somali Voice. Archived from the original on March 25, 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2013.