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Harar Jugol

EthiopiaEastern Highlands & Ogaden DesertHarar


Harar Jugol 

Harar is a fortified historic city in Ethiopia's eastern region, 525 kilometers from Addis Ababa, on a plateau with steep gorges surrounded by deserts and savannah. The walls that encircled this hallowed city, which is known as Islam's "fourth holy city," were constructed between the 13th and 16th centuries and acted as a protective barrier.

There used to be five historic gates that corresponded to the town's main highways and served to separate the city into five neighborhoods, but this division is no longer effective. The Harar gate, from which the main streets flow to the city center, is relatively new.

Harar Jugol is home to 82 mosques, three of which date back to the 10th century, 102 shrines, and a variety of conventional, Indian, and mixed townhouses with unique interior designs, all of which contribute to Harar's cultural legacy. African and Islamic traditions affected the formation of the city and its distinctive urban planning over a long period of time, contributing to its distinct character and originality.

The current urban arrangement is based on a 16th-century design for an Islamic town, with a central core of commercial and religious structures and a maze of small lanes with imposing facades. Although suggestive of coastal Arab architecture and with an amazing interior design, this is a typical domestic arrangement seen in Muslim countries.

Indian merchants erected new houses with wooden verandas at the end of the nineteenth century, which formed a separate urban scene and influenced the construction of integrated Indian/Harari residences. Harari's cultural legacy today includes their architectural and ornamental elements.

From 1520 to 1568, Harar served as the capital of the Harari Kingdom, then as an independent emirate in the 17th century before being absorbed into Ethiopia in 1887. Harar was a major commercial center between the coast and the interior highlands, as well as a center for Islamic study, from the late 16th century until the 19th century.

The Harari People National Regional State's administrative capital is Harar today (HPNRS). The historic town has a historically functioning community, constituting a complex social-environmental whole with symbolic and practical significance for each aspect. The Harari people are known for their continuing cultural traditions and high-quality handicrafts, such as weaving, basketry, and book binding. Traditional community organization has preserved the social and physical heritage of the Harari people, as well as the Harari language.

Harar Jugol was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.

(Source UNESCO)


  • EthiopiaEastern Highlands & Ogaden DesertHarar

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