Harar is series of 368 colorful, maze-like alleys dotted with traditional homes and abundant mosques and shrines. It is the capital of the Harari Region of Ethiopia.
This historic city in eastern Ethiopia was, for centuries, a major commercial center, linking India, the Middle East and Africa. Harar Jugol, the old walled city, was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2006 by UNESCO in recognition of its cultural heritage. It is considered the Fourth Holy City of Islam with 82 mosques, three of which date as far back as the 10th century, and 102 shrines.
Emir Nur ibn Mujahid, built a protective wall around the city between the 13th and 16th century. Four meters in height with five gates, this structure, called Jugol, is still intact and is a symbol of the town.
Much of the uniqueness of the city emanates from the rectangular houses with flat roofs and exceptional interior design. The living room of a traditional Harar home consists of five raised platforms of different levels where guests sit according to their status. The walls are decorated with colorful baskets and black bowls that are hung from roof to the sitting space. Space for the storing of equally colorful cups is built into the wall.
At the end of the 19thcentury Indian merchants built new houses with wooden verandas. Their architectural and ornamental qualities are now part of the Harari cultural heritage. The present urban layout follows the 16th century design for an Islamic town with its central core occupied with commercial and religious buildings and a maze of narrow alleyways with imposing facades.
Among the things to see in Harar are notable buildings such as 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. In the night time you’ll have a chance to enjoy the captivating long-standing tradition of feeding meat to spotted hyenas which also evolved during the 1960s into an impressive night show for tourists.
Throughout the year, afternoon temperatures are warm to very warm, whilst mornings are cool to mild. Rain falls between March and October with a peak in August, whilst November to February is usually dry and the best time to visit.
Video of home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xow-y_b45zU
Video Hyena feeding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-72qgB7xgY