The Walled City

Harar 2

The ancient city of Harar is situated in the East, 523 km from Addis Ababa. It has 99 mosques and shrines due to this it is considered the forth most sacred center of the Islamic world after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. The old City Wall of Harar is the main attraction and symbol of Islamic architecture.

Harar was established during the 9th century, it was for many centuries a center for Muslim religion and a major commercial centre. trading with the Ethiopian interior, the Gulf of Aden ports, and many Eastern lands, it had its own language , Harari or Adere, which was spoken only within walls , and issued its own currency. The city was moreover also a great centre of Islamic learning.

In the beginning of the 16th century Ahmed Ibn Ibrahim’s nephew and successor, Nur Ibn al-Wazir Mujahid, was forced to erect strong encircling walls for defense against the Oromo’s, preventing them from penetrating the city. The wall is still standing and it is one of the city’s most dominant features and main attraction.

Visitors to Harar should inspect the city’s famous old wall encircled the city, unique Harari house with its architectural features and remarkable handicrafts, the colorful dress of its inhabitants, Harari museum, colorful market and, at night, the ‘hyena man’, who feeds his wild friends, the hyenas, with meat and bones every evening in the open air.

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