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Nairobi County is Located in Nairobi Province, and is the most populous city in East Africa, with a current estimated population of about 3 million. According to the 2009 Census, in the administrative area of Nairobi, 3,138,295 inhabitants lived within 696 km2 (269 sq mi). Nairobi is currently the 12th largest city in Africa, including the population of its suburbs. It borders the counties of Kiambu to the North West, North and North East, Machakos to the East and South East and Kajiado to the South, South West and West.

Nairobi is now also one of the most prominent cities in Africa politically and financially. Home to thousands of Kenyan businesses and over 100 major international companies and organisations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the main coordinating and headquarters for the UN in Africa and Middle East, the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON), Nairobi is an established hub for business and culture. The Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) is one of the largest in Africa and the second oldest exchange on the continent. It is ranked 4th in terms of trading volume and capable of making 10 million trades a day. The Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) defines Nairobi as a prominent social centre.

Nairobi County constitutes 9 sub-counties (Makadara, Kamukunji, Starehe, Lang’ata, Dagoretti, Westlands, Kasarani, Kibra and Embakasi).

History

Founded by the British in 1899 as a simple rail depot on the railway linking Mombasa to Uganda, the town quickly grew to become the capital of British East Africa in 1907 and eventually the capital of a free Kenyan republic in 1963. During Kenya's colonial period, the city became a centre for the colony's coffee, tea and sisal industry. Nairobi is also the capital of the Nairobi Province and of the Nairobi District. The city lies on the Nairobi River, in the south of the nation, and has an elevation of 1795 m above sea-level.

Central Business District

Nairobi's western suburbs stretch all the way from the Kenyatta National Hospital in the south to the UN headquarters at Gigiri suburb in the north, a distance of about 20 kilometres (12 mi). The city is centred on the City Square, which is located in the Central Business District. The Kenyan Parliament buildings, the Holy Family Cathedral, Nairobi City Hall, Nairobi Law Courts and the Kenyatta Conference Centre all surround the square.

Climate

At 1,795 metres (5,889 ft) above sea level, Nairobi enjoys a moderate climate. Under the Köppen climate classification, Nairobi has a subtropical highland climate. The altitude makes for some cool evenings, especially in the June/July season when the temperature can drop to 10 °C (50 °F). The sunniest and warmest part of the year is from December to March, when temperatures average the mid-twenties during the day. The mean maximum temperature for this period is 24 °C (75 °F).

There are two rainy seasons but rainfall can be moderate. The cloudiest part of the year is just after the first rainy season, when, until September, conditions are usually overcast with drizzle. Since Nairobi is situated close to the equator, the differences between the seasons are minimal. The seasons are referred to as the wet season and dry season. The timing of sunrise and sunset varies little throughout the year, due to Nairobi's close proximity to the equator.

Surburbs

The main administrative divisions of Nairobi are Central, Dagoretti, Embakasi, Kasarani, Kibera, Makadara, Pumwani and Westlands. Most of the upmarket suburbs are situated to the west and north-central of Nairobi, where most European settlers resided during the colonial times. These include Karen, Langata, Lavington, Gigiri, Muthaiga, Spring Valley, Loresho, Kilimani, Kileleshwa, Hurlingham, Runda, Kitisuru, Nyari, Kyuna, Lower Kabete, Westlands and Highridge, although Kangemi, Kawangware and Dagoretti are lower income areas close to these affluent suburbs. The city's colonial past is commemorated by many English place-names. Most lower-middle and upper middle income neighborhoods are located in the north-central areas such as Highridge, Parklands, Ngara, Pangani and areas to the southwest and southeast of the metropolitan area near the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The most notable ones include Avenue Park, Fedha, Pipeline, Donholm, Greenfields, Nyayo, Taasia, Baraka, Nairobi West, Madaraka, Siwaka, South B, South C, Mugoya, Riverbank, Hazina, Buru Buru, Uhuru, Harambee Civil Servants', Akiba, Kimathi, Pioneer, and Koma Rock (Komarock) to the centre-east and Kasarani to northeast area among others. The low and lower income estates are located mainly in far eastern Nairobi. These include, Umoja, Kariokor, Dandora, Kariobangi, Embakasi and Huruma. Kitengela suburb, though located further southeast, Ongata Rongai and Kiserian further southwest and Ngong /Embulbul suburbs to the far west are considered part of the Greater Nairobi Metropolitan area . More than 90% of Nairobi residents work within the Nairobi Metropolitan area, in the formal and informal sectors (jua kali). Many Somali immigrants have also settled in Eastleigh, nicknamed "Little Mogadishu".

Society and Culture

Nairobi is a cosmopolitan and multicultural city. Since its foundation, Nairobi has maintained a strong British presence, and a lasting legacy from colonial rule. This is highlighted by the number of English-named suburbs, including Hurlingham and Parklands.

By the mid twentieth century, many foreigners settled in Nairobi from other British colonies, primarily India and parts of, what is now, Pakistan. These immigrants were workers who arrived to construct the Kampala - Mombasa railway, settling in Nairobi after its completion, and merchants from Gujarat. Nairobi also has established communities from Somalia and Sudan.