Harar (sometimes spelled Harrar or Harer) is an ancient city in eastern Ethiopia with a population of about 75,000. For centuries, Harar has been a major commercial centre, linked by 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 included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2006 in recognition of its cultural heritage. It is considered the fourth holiest city of Islam by Sunni Muslims (after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, with 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines.
- Harar is 54 km by asphalt road from Dire Dawa.
- Harar is served by Dire Dawa international airport.
The blue and white minibuses and rental vehicles are available.
- A mansion that once housed the renowned French poet Arthur Rimbaud. The mansion is now converted to a museum.
- The old town is home to ninety-nine mosques and many more shrines, centred on Feres Magala square.
- Notable buildings include Medhane Alem Cathedral and the sixteenth century Jamia Mosque.
- Abdela Sherif Museum, Harar Jugol, ☎ +251 25 666-2017, e-mail: Abdelasherif@yahoo.com. Daily 08:00-12:00, 14:00-18:00. 30 birr.
- A long standing tradition of feeding porridge to hyenas one night a year, developed in the 1960s into a nightly feeding show for the benefit of tourists.
- Handicrafts are available at the market.
There are very few mid-range accommodations. Dire Dawa has a better selection of hotels and restaurants.
- Tewodros Hotel, from 50 birr (double), a friendly, a bit out-of-town place, apparently you can watch the hyena from the balcony in the upper floor. Often fully booked.
- Tourist Hotel, from 40 birr (single), very noisy (disco-cum-brothel), try to get one of the rooms which are furthest from the disco area.
- Amir Redwan Guesthouse (Argobaberi), ☎ +251 912 601 956. Check-in: anytime, check-out: 12:00. A traditional Harari house founded by tourist guide Amir Redwan. 350 birr.