Harar

Harar

Harar is a walled city which stands on the eastern wall of the Great Rift Valley and is the provincial capital of Ethiopia’s largest administrative region, Hararge. The city’s location gives wonderful views of the surrounding country – the vast Danakil desert to the north, the fertile Harar Mountains to the west, and the cattle rich Ogaden plains to the south. Harar is considered as a holy city by the Muslims, and within its walls are no less than 90 mosques. It was founded in the 12th century and in 1520 was captured by Ahmed Gragn (the left-handed) who from Harar invaded large parts of Ethiopia. In 1875 Harar was captured by the Egyptians and in 1887 by Menelik II who appointed Ras Makonnen, whose army defeated the Italians at Adwa and father of Haile Selassie, as its governor. All around the walled city we find bigger and smaller markets famous for basket, spices and chat. The Hyena man is considered as one of the tourist attractions of Harar, Here one can see men feeding the hyenas in the evening. The major beauties of Harar are its colorful people and its unique atmosphere. It’s a pleasure to walk around the city, look at the people and bargain at the markets. As a centre of commerce which it used to be, Harar feels like a place where people live and let live, a laizez faire mentality.

The inhabitants of Harar represent several different Afroasiatic-speaking ethnic groups, both Muslim and Christian, including the Oromo people, Somalis, Amhara people, Gurage people and Tigrayans. The Harari people, who refer to themselves as Gēy ‘Usu (“People of the City”) are a Semitic-speaking people. Their language, Harari, constitutes an Ethiopian Semitic pocket in a predominantly Cushitic-speaking region. Originally written in the Arabic script, the Harari language has recently converted to the Ge’ez script.Besides the stone wall surrounding the city, the old town is home to 110 mosques and many more shrines, centered on Feres Magalasquare. Notable buildings include Medhane Alem Cathedral, the house of Ras Mekonnen, the house of Arthur Rimbaud, the sixteenth century Jami Mosque and historic Great Five Gates of Harar. Harrar Bira Stadium is the home stadium for the Harrar Beer Bottling FC. One can also visit the market.

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