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Harar -The Walled City

Harar is one of Ethiopia’s oldest cities. It was founded in the first half of the 16th century A.D. and lies high in the Ahmar Mountains on the eastern wall of the Great Rift Valley lakes. To the North is the vast Danakil Desert, the cattle rich savanna to the South and on the East the fertile lands of Harar Mountains where some of the Ethiopia’s finest coffee is grown.  

The ancient walled-city of Harar served for many years not only as a major commercial center but also as a fiercely religious city considered to be the third holiest city in Islam after Mecca, Medina. The major attractions of the walled-city of Harar include Museums, traditional Harari houses with the lively, friendly and stimulating environments, the late-Emperor Haile Selassie’s childhood home, the exciting open market that presents a medley of people and cultures, the Rimbaud House named - after the French poet who stayed there in 1880, the hyena man of Harar who collect offal and bones to feed to the wild hyenas. 

The thick, 5 meters-high walls around town, which stand to this day, were erected in the 16th century by an emir, in response to the migrations northwards of the Oromo. This Harar walls’, protecting the capital city of a vast Muslim kingdom in the 16th century is inscribed by UNESCO in the year 2000.  The historic Muslim and Christian markets in Harar are considered unique attractions as well as the Hyena Man who puts a remarkable show of feeding the hyena with meat.