Harar (Harari: ሐረር),[a] and known to its inhabitants as Gēy
(Harari: ጌይ), is a walled city in eastern Ethiopia. It was
formerly the capital of
Hararghe and now the capital of the modern
Harari Region of Ethiopia. The city is located on a hilltop in the
eastern extension of the Ethiopian Highlands, about five hundred
kilometers from the national capital
Addis Ababa at an elevation of
1,885 meters. Based on figures from the
Central Statistical Agency in
Harar had an estimated total population of 122,000, of whom
60,000 were males and 62,000 were females. According to the census
of 1994, on which this estimate is based, the city had a population of
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, the old walled city, was listed as a
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site in
UNESCO in recognition of its cultural heritage. It is
sometimes known in Arabic as مدينة الأَوْلِيَاء "the
City of Saints". According to UNESCO, it is "considered 'the fourth
holy city' of Islam" with 110 mosques, three of which date from the
10th century and 102 shrines.
The Fath Madinat
Harar records that the cleric
Abadir Umar ar-Rida and
several other religious leaders settled in
Harar circa 1216 (612 hijri
Harar was later made the new capital of the Adal Sultanate
in 1520 by the
Sultan Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad. The city saw a
political decline during the ensuing Emirate of Harar, only regaining
some significance in the
Khedivate of Egypt
Khedivate of Egypt period. During the
Ethiopian Empire, the city decayed while maintaining a certain
cultural prestige. Today, it is the seat of the Harari Region.
5 Sister cities
6 Notable residents
7 See also
9 Further reading
10 External links
Harar city wall 1956
It is likely the original inhabitants of the region were the Harla
people. In its early history, the city was under an alliance called
Zaila confederate states. According to twelfth century Jewish
traveler Benjamin Tudela,
Zaila region was the land of the Havilah,
Al-Habash in the west. In the ninth century, Harar
was under the
Muslim Adal Sultanet 
Harar Called Gēy ("the
City") by its inhabitants Harari people,
Harar emerged as the center
of Islamic culture and religion in the
Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa during end of
the Middle Ages.
According to the Fath Madinat Harar, an unpublished history of the
city in the 13th century, the cleric Abadir Umar ar-Rida, along with
several other religious leaders, came from the
Arabian Peninsula to
Harar circa 612H (1216 CE). Abadir was met by the Harla
(Harari people) , Gaturi and Argobba. Thefounder of
Umar ar-Rida dubbed as the principal patron saint and first
Harar, was the most celebrated Somali figure and one of the earliest
Islam in the city of Harar. He introduced
Islam at a
very early period before the Ethiopians (Abyssinians) first gained a
According to the 14th century chronicles of Amda Seyon I, Gēt (Gēy)
Arab colony in
Harla country. During the Middle Ages, Harar
was part of the Adal Sultanate, becoming its capital in 1520 under
Sultan Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad. The sixteenth century was the city's
Golden Age. The local culture flourished, and many poets lived and
wrote there. It also became known for coffee, weaving, basketry and
From Harar, Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi, also known as "Gurey" and
"Grañ" (both meaning "the Left-handed"), launched a war of conquest
in the sixteenth century that extended the polity's territory and
threatened the existence of the neighboring
Empire. His successor,
Emir Nur ibn Mujahid, built a protective wall
around the city. Four meters in height with five gates, this
structure, called Jugol, is still intact and is a symbol of the town
to the inhabitants. Silt'e, Wolane, Halaba and Harari, lived in Harar
while the former three moved to the
Wooden balconies on the streets of Harar.
Emirate 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.
A scene on the road to the market in Harar, dating between 1900-1920.
Following the death of
Harar began a steady decline in
wealth and power. A later ruler, Imam Muhammed Jasa, a kinsman of
Ahmad Gragn, yielded to the pressures of increasing Oromo raids and in
1577 abandoned the city, relocating to Aussa and making his brother
ruler of Harar. The new base not only failed to provide more security
from the Oromos, it attracted the hostile attention of the neighboring
Afars who raided caravans traveling between
Harar and the coast. The
Imams of Aussa declined over the next century while
Harar regained its
independence under `Ali ibn Da`ud, the founder of a dynasty that ruled
the city from 1647 until 1875, when it was conquered by Egypt.
During the period of Egyptian rule (1875-1884),
Arthur Rimbaud lived
in the city as the local functionary of several different commercial
companies based in Aden; he returned in 1888 to resume trading in
coffee, musk, and skins until a fatal disease forced him to return to
France. A house said to have been his residence is now a museum.
Harar 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 Emperor
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
A traditional home in
Harar with a niche adorned with Islamic
Harar was captured by Italian troops under Marshall Rodolfo Graziani
Second Italo-Ethiopian War
Second Italo-Ethiopian War on 8 May 1937. The 1st battalion
of the Nigeria Regiment, advancing from
Jijiga by way of the Marda
Pass, captured the city for the allies 29 March 1941. Following
the conclusion of the
Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement in 1944, the
government of the
United Kingdom were granted permission to establish
a consulate in Harar, although the British refused to reciprocate by
allowing an Ethiopian one at Hargeisa. After numerous reports of
British activities in the
Haud that violated the London Agreement of
1954, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs ordered the consulate
closed March 1960.
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.
According to Sir Richard Burton
Harar is the birthplace of the khat
plant. The original domesticated coffee plant is also said to have
been from Harar.
The climate of
Harar is classified as subtropical highland climate
(Cwb) in Köppen-Geiger climate classification system.
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.
Climate data for Harar
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average rainfall mm (inches)
During his visit in the 19th century era of Egyptian occupation,
Paultischke describes the town as having roughly 40,000 inhabitants
with 25,000 of these being Hararis, 6,000 Oromo, 5,000 Somalis, 3,000
Ethiopians as well as a minority of Europeans and Asians.
H. H. Ahmad Bin Abi Bakr, Amir of Harar.
The inhabitants of
Harar today 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. Due to ethnic cleansing campaign committed
against Hararis by the
Haile Selassie regime, Hararis comprise less
than 10% of the population of their city today.
The Somali tribes surrounding
Harar are mainly from the Dir clans of
the Madaxweyne Dir-Akisho,
Gadabuursi and Issa. They represent the
most native Somali clans in the region.
Arthur Rimbaud's house and museum
Besides the stone wall surrounding the city, 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, 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
A long-standing tradition of feeding meat to spotted hyenas also
evolved during the 1960s into an impressive night show for
tourists. (See spotted hyenas in Harar.)
Other places of interest include the highest amba overlooking 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.
Harar Brewery was established in 1984. Its beers can be sampled at
the brewery social club adjacent to the brewery in Harar.
Intercity bus service is provided by the Selam Bus Line Share Company.
Clarkston, United States
Main article: List of emirs of Harar
'Abd Allah II ibn 'Ali 'Abd ash-Shakur, last emir of Harar
Abadir Umar ar-Rida,
Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi, leader of the Adal Sultanate
Mahfuz, Imam and General of the Adal Sultanate
Bati del Wambara, wife of Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi
Nur ibn Mujahid,
Emir of Harar
Abdullah al-Harari, leader of al-Ahbash
Malik Ambar, Leader of Ahmadnagar Sultanate
`Ali ibn Da`ud, Founder of Emirate of Harar
Emir of Harar
Arthur Rimbaud, the French poet, settled as a merchant in Harar
between 1880 and 1891
Coffee production in Ethiopia#Harar
Hargeisa, a city in Somalia also called "Little Harar"
Islam in Ethiopia
Silt'e people, an ethnic claiming to originate from Harar
World Heritage Sites in Ethiopia, List of
^ Formerly written as Harrar,  other variants include Hārer and
^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Harrar". Encyclopædia
Britannica. 18 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
^ Leslau 1959, p. 276.
^ CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table B.4
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Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town". World Heritage List.
UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 6 August 2009. It is
considered 'the fourth holy city' of Islam, having been founded by a
holy missionary from the Arabic Peninsula.
^ "Five new heritage sites in Africa". BBC. July 13, 2006. Retrieved
Harar Jugol, seen as the fourth holiest city of Islam,
includes 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th Century, and
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Khat & Agricultural
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Press. ISBN 978-0-85255-480-7. , page 36
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Harari people regional state, culture, heritage and tourism bureau.
p. 45. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
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(Routledge Revivals): Nubia and Abyssinia. Routledge. Retrieved 3
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^ Crass, Joachim (2001). "The Qabena and the Wolane: Two peoples of
Gurage region and their respective histories according to their
own oral traditions". Annales d'Éthiopie. 17 (1): 180. Retrieved 15
^ Richard Pankhurst, An Introduction to the Economic History of
Lalibela House, 1961), p. 267.
^ Richard Pankhurst, The Ethiopian Borderlands (Lawrenceville: Red Sea
Press, 1997), pp. 375-377
^ Munro-Hay, Ethiopia, the unknown land: a cultural and historical
guide (London: I.B. Tauris, 2002), p. 184
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2003), pp. 145, 367f
^ John Spencer,
Ethiopia at Bay: A personal account of the Haile
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^ Libermn, Mark (2003). "LANGUAGE RELATIONSHIPS: FAMILIES, GRAFTS,
PRISONS". Basic Reference. pittsburgh, USA: University Pennsylvania
Academics. 28: 217–229. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
^ Wild, Anthony (2003). "Coffee: A dark history". Basic Reference.
USA: Fourth Estate. 28: 217–229. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
^ "Climate-Data : Ethiopia". Retrieved 11 July 2013.
^ "local history of Ethiopia" (PDF). Nordic Africa Institute.
Retrieved 9 October 2017.
^ Wehib, Ahmed (October 2015). History of
Harar and Harari (PDF).
Harari people regional state, culture, heritage and tourism bureau.
p. 141. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
^ Slikkerveer (2013-10-28). Plural Medical Systems In The Horn Of
Africa: The Legacy Of Sheikh Hippocrates. Routledge. p. 140.
^ Saints and Somalis: Popular
Islam in a Clan-based Society.
^ A Modern History of the Somali: Nation and State in the Horn of
^ "The hyena man of Harar". BBC News. 2002-07-01. Retrieved
^ "Wild horses exist in Ethiopia, but face danger of extinction:
Exploratory Team". Archived from the original on July 15, 2009.
^ "Embassy staff visits
Harar Brewery". Norway.org.et. Archived from
the original on 2012-03-19. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
^ EthioNetworks.com. "Harrar Brewery, Ethiopia".
Ethiopianrestaurant.com. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
Fritz Stuber, "
Harar in Äthiopien - Hoffnungslosigkeit und Chancen
der Stadterhaltung" (
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,
David Vô Vân, Mohammed Jami Guleid, Harar, a cultural guide, Shama
Books, Addis Abeba, 2007, 99 pages
Salma K. Jayyusi; et al., eds. (2008). "Harar: the Fourth Holy City of
Islam". The City in the Islamic World. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill.
pp. 625–642. ISBN 9789004162402.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Harar.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Harar.
List of Emirs of Adal and Harar, Royal ark website
World Heritage Sites in Ethiopia
Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town
Lower Valley of the Awash
Lower Valley of the Omo
Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela
Simien National Park
Cities of Ethiopia
Coordinates: 9°18′40″N 42°07′40″E / 9.31111°N
42.12778°E / 9.31111; 42.12778