Photos of Harar, a fortified historic town, Ethiopia

Harari Region Flag
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Harar, a fortified historic town

Harar (also spelt "Harer") is the capital of the Harari region (its flag is shown at top left), about 540 kilometres to the east of Addis Ababa and situated at an altitude of around 1,885 metres. Called Gey ("the City") by its inhabitants, it is the trade centre for a coffee, fruit, cereals, and cotton growing region and has around 125,000 inhabitants.

Near a school
 
Mosque, old town
 
Street in old city
 
Narrow alley
 
View to Christian town
 
Market and mosque
 
Christian market
 
Harar inner city
 
Muslim market
 
View from Muslim town
 
Narrow street, old town
 
Outside the gates
 
Somali with camel
 
Harar street market
 
Oromo women
 
At the market
 
Muslim market
 
Near the market
 
Somali women
 
Street market
 
Typical houses
 
Just outside Harar
 
Hyena feeding time
 
Hyena show
 

There is a military academy, a teacher training institute and an agricultural school. The city is surrounded by a high wall and contains the palace of the governor, an Abyssinian church, and a number of mosques. A long-standing tradition of feeding meat to hyenas evolved during the 1960s into an impressive night show for tourists.

Harar was probably founded in the 7th century by Arabs. After 1520 the Somali conqueror Ahmad Gran made it the capital of Adal, a considerable Muslim state, but an invasion by Oromo tribesmen in 1577 brought it to an end. The city remained more or less independent until it was occupied by Egypt in 1875. The occupation lasted until 1885 and in 1887 it was incorporated into Ethiopia by Emperor Menelik II. A walled city, Harar was long a centre of Islamic learning. The Harari inhabitants of the city are a distinctive Ethiopian group who speak a Semitic language, but whose written literature is Arabic. There are different tribal groups, living in separate quarters, and can be recognised by their distinctive dress.