Dar es Salaam is Tanzania's largest port and city located on the Indian Ocean and country's east coast. From here trains go in the north inland to Arusha, to the lakes Victoria and Tanganyika, and to Zambia. The city's metropolitan population is around 4,4 million.
Dar es Salaam (meaning "haven of peace" in Arabic) was established in the 1860s as summer residence for the sultan of Zanzibar. In 1896 it was developed by German colonists and became capital of German East Africa. The city fell to the British in 1916. in 1961 it became the capital of independent Tanganyika (1961-1964). In 1964, when Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania. In 1974, Dar es Salaam was replaced with Dodoma as Tanzania's new designated capital city.
Dar es Salaam is the most important city in Tanzania for both government and business. The city features high concentrations of trade, manufacturing and other services compared to other parts of the country, which has around 80% of its population in the rural areas.
Downtown includes a wealth of small businesses, many of which run by proprietors and traders whose families originated from Indian sub-continent and the Middle East, world's areas with which the settlements of Tanzanian coast have long-standing trading relations.
The port of Dar es Salaam operates as an outlet for copper exports from Zambia. The city has the busiest port in the country which handles 90% of Tanzania's cargo. Due to the huge influx of cargo and slow pace of expansion a new cargo port 60 km (37 mi) north of Dar es Salaam was proposed at Bagamoyo.
Among the city's main attractions are its Botanical Gardens, Kariakoo market, National Central Library, the National Museum of Tanzania. Here are also 2 of the 5 museums that comprise the National Museum of Tanzania consortium (Village Museum and National Museum) dedicated to the country's history. The Village Museum (in the outskirts, on the road to Bagamoyo) showcases traditional huts from 16 Tanzanian ethnic groups. Examples of traditional cultivations are also exhibited, and traditional dance and music shows are held daily.
In the mid-2016 there was a breakthrough discovery by historical Scientist in Northern Tanzania of footprints thought to be of an early man, the one who evoluted to present specie, Homo Sapiens. Not far from the National Museum are located the botanical gardens, with tropical trees and plants.
There are beaches on Msasani peninsula north of the city of Dar es Salaam and to the south in Kigamboni. Trips from the city to nearby islands of Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve are very popular. The Reserve is a spot for swimming, sunbathing and snorkelling. Bongoyo Island is easily reached by boat from Msasani Slipway.