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Harar
Harar enclosed within the city wall, Jugol
Harar is located in Ethiopia
Harar
Location within Ethiopia
Coordinates: 9°19′N 42°7′E / 9.317°N 42.117°E / 9.317; 42.117
Country Ethiopia
Region Harari
Zone
Elevation 1,885 m (6,184 ft)
Population (2008)
 - Total 147,306
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)

Harar (var. Harrar, Hārer, Harer; Somali: Adari ) is an eastern city in Ethiopia, and the capital of the modern Harari ethno-political division (or kilil) of Ethiopia. The city is located on a hilltop, in the eastern extension of the Ethiopian highlands about five hundred kilometers from Addis Ababa with an elevation of 1885 meters.

Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Harar has an estimated total population of 122,000, of whom 60,000 were males and 62,000 were females.[1] According to the census of 1994, on which this estimate is based, the city has a population of 76,378.

For centuries, Harar has been a major commercial centre, linked by the trade routes with the rest of Ethiopia, the entire Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and, through its ports, the outside world.

Harar Jugol has been included in the World Heritage List in 2006 by UNESCO in recognition of its cultural heritage.[2] According to UNESCO, it is "considered 'the fourth holy city' of Islam" with 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines. [3][4]

Harar is also famous for its distinctive, natural processed coffees which bear the same name.

Contents

History

Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

A scene on the road to the market in Harar, dating between 1900-1920.
State Party  Ethiopia
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii, iv, v
Reference 1189
Region** Africa
Inscription history
Inscription 2006  (30th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Called Gey ("the City") by its inhabitants, Harar was founded between the 7th and the 11th century (according to different sources)[citation needed] and emerged as the center of Islamic culture and religion in the Horn of Africa.

It was part of the Adal Sultanate (at times a vassal of Ethiopia) of which it became the capital in 1520 under Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad. From Harar, Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi, also known as "Gragn the Left-handed," launched a war of conquest in the sixteenth century that extended its territory and even threatened the existence of the Christian Ethiopian empire. His successor, Emir Nur ibn Mujahid, encircled the city with a wall, 4 meters high and with five gates. This wall, called Jugol, is still intact, and is a symbol of the town to the inhabitants.

Wooden balconies on the streets of Harar.

The sixteenth century was the Golden Age of Harar. The local culture flourished, and many poets lived and wrote there. It also became known for coffee, weaving, basketry and bookbinding. The rulers of Harar also struck its own currency, the earliest possible issues bearing a date that may be read as AH 615 (= AD 1218/19); but definitely by AD 1789 the first coins were issued, and more were issued into the nineteenth century.[5]

The city managed to maintain its independence until 1875, when it was conquered by Egypt. During this period, Arthur Rimbaud lived in the city - his former house now a museum. Ten years later, it regained its independence, but this lasted only two years until 6 January 1887 when the Battle of Chelenqo led to Harar's incorporation into the Negus Menelik II of Ethiopia's growing Empire based in Shewa.

Harar lost some of its commercial importance with the creation of the Addis Ababa - Djibouti Railway, initially intended to run via the city but diverted north of the mountains between Harar and the Awash River to save money. As a result of this, Dire Dawa was founded in 1902 as New Harar.

In 1995, the city and its environs became an Ethiopian region (or kilil) in its own right. A pipeline to carry water to the city from Dire Dawa is currently under construction.

People

Old man in Harar.

The inhabitants of Harar represent several different Afro-Asiatic-speaking ethnic groups, both Muslim and Christian, including Oromo, Somali, Amhara, Gurage, Tigray, and others. Nevertheless, within the walled city, the indigenous Harari are predominant. The Harari, who refer to themselves as Gey 'Usu ("People of the City") are a Semitic-speaking people once thought to be descended from an Aksumite military outpost. Today, they are most commonly classed as a social and cultural unit rather than as a distinct ethnic group since most families have intermingled with the neighboring peoples, and were welcoming of foreigners into their community. Their language, Harari, constitutes a Semitic pocket in a predominantly Cushitic-speaking region. Originally written in the Arabic script, the Harari language has recently converted to the Ge'ez alphabet.

Attractions

Harar mosque

The old town is home to 110 mosques and many more shrines, centered on Feres Magala square. Notable buildings include Medhane Alem Cathedral, the house of Ras Mekonnen, the house of Arthur Rimbaud, and the sixteenth century Jami Mosque. Harrar Bira Stadium is the home stadium for the Harrar Beer Bottling FC. One can also visit the market.

A long-standing tradition of feeding meat to hyenas has also developed (during the 1960s) into an impressive night show for tourists.[6]

Other places of interest include the highest amba overlooking the city, the Kondudo or "W" mountain, which hosts an ancient population of feral horses. A 2008 scientific mission has unleashed efforts for their conservation, as the animals are greatly endangered.[7]

Intercity bus service is provided by the Selam Bus Line Share Company.

Notes

  1. ^ CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table B.4
  2. ^ Panda sanctuary, tequila area join UN World Heritage sites
  3. ^ "Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town" (in English) (HTML). World Heritage List. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1189. Retrieved 6 August 2009. "It is considered 'the fourth holy city' of Islam, having been founded by a holy missionary from the Arabic Peninsula." 
  4. ^ "Five new heritage sites in Africa". BBC. July 13, 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/5176110.stm. Retrieved 2006-12-18. "Harar Jugol, seen as the fourth holiest city of Islam, includes 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th Century, and 102 shrines." 
  5. ^ Richard Pankhurst, An Introduction to the Economic History of Ethiopia (London: Lalibela House, 1961), p. 267.
  6. ^ The hyena man of Harar
  7. ^ Wild horses exist in Ethiopia, but face danger of extinction: Exploratory Team

Further reading

  • Fritz Stuber, "Harar in Äthiopien - Hoffnungslosigkeit und Chancen der Stadterhaltung" (Harar in Ethiopia - The Hopelessness and Challenge of Urban Preservation), in: Die alte Stadt. Vierteljahreszeitschrift für Stadtgeschichte, Stadtsoziologie, Denkmalpflege und Stadtentwicklung (W. Kohlhammer Stuttgart Berlin Köln), Vol. 28, No. 4, 2001, ISSN 0170–9364, pp. 324–343, 14 ill.

See also

External links


Coordinates: 9°18′40″N 42°07′40″E / 9.31111°N 42.12778°E / 9.31111; 42.12778

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Contents

Harar is an ancient city in eastern Ethiopia. Harar (sometimes spelled Harrar or Harer) has a population of about 75,000. For centuries, Harar has been a major commercial center, linked by the trade routes with the rest of Ethiopia, the entire Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and, through its ports, the outside world.

Harar Jugol has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2006 in recognition of its cultural heritage. It is considered the fourth holiest city of Islam with 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines.

  • Harar is served by Dire Dawa international airport.

Get around

The blue and white minibuses and rental vehicles are available.

  • One of the major attractions of Harar is a mansion once housed the French's renowned poet Arthur Rimbaud. The mansion is now converted to a museum.
  • The old town is home to ninety-nine mosques and many more shrines, centred on Feres Magala square.
  • Notable buildings include Medhane Alem Cathedral and the sixteenth century Jamia Mosque.
  • There is also a market.
  • A long standing tradition of feeding porridge to hyenas one night a year developed in the 1960s into a nightly feeding show for the benefit of tourists.
  • Incredible hand crafts that are available on the market.

Sleep

There are very few mid range accomedations. However, Dire Dawa has a better selection of hotels and restaurants.

  • Tewodros Hotel, from Birr 50 (double), a friendly, a bit out-of-town place, apparently you can watch the hyena from the balcony in the upper floor. Often fully booked.
  • Tourist Hotel, from Birr 40 (single), very noisy (disco-cum-brothel), try to get one of the rooms which are the furthest off the disco area.
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