For decades, Somalia's capital Mogadishu has been synonymous with war, a failed state.  But the ruins of the city's spectacular waterfront district are mute testimony to its rich colonial heritage.

The recent expulsion of al-Qaida linked extremists from the city has allowed a rare glimpse of Mogadishu's former splendor. VOA's Peter Heinlein walked through the wreckage of the al-Uruba Hotel, which has recently been turned from a rebel headquarters to a base for pro-government troops.