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Zimbabwe's main and most populous city, Harare, is located in the country's central region. A total land area of 960.6 km2 (371 mi2) and a population of 2,123,132 in the 2012 census, with a projected total metropolitan population of 3,120,917 in 2019. The city proper has a land area of 960.6 km2 (371 mi2). A metropolitan province that includes the municipalities of Chitungwiza and Epworth, Harare is located in north-eastern Zimbabwe, in the country's Mashonaland area. It is the capital of the country's Mashonaland region. The city lies on a plateau at an altitude of 1,483 metres (4,865 feet) above sea level, and its climate is classified as subtropical highland.

Fort Salisbury was established in 1890 by the Pioneer Column, a tiny military unit of the British South Africa Company, and was named after the British Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, who was at the time the city's founder. Company officials delineated the city's boundaries and administered it until Southern Rhodesia was granted self-government in 1923. The city of Salisbury was subsequently designated as the administrative centre of the Southern Rhodesian (later Rhodesian) administration and, from 1953 to 1963, as the capital of the Central African Federation. In 1982, the city was renamed Harare to commemorate the second anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence from the United Kingdom. It had been known as Salisbury before to that.