The city of Harar is ancient and holy city, which stands amid green mountains on the east wall of the Great Rift Valley. Some Muslims consider Harar as the fourth holiest city of their faith after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem and has been a place of pilgrimage from all over the world for many years. There are several stories about the foundation of Harar which date drom the 10th century to the 15th century.
But it is certain that the walls which still surround the old city, have been constructed by Sultan Nur around 1560. This old walled city with its steep cobbled streets and mosques give special and lively atmosphere. Harar was also an important trading center.
The city is well known for its super handicrafts that include woven textiles, basket ware, silverware and handsomely bound books and the market is worth visiting. It is also interesting to visit one of the old Harar houses which are unique and reminiscent of coastal Arab architecture. The most famous attraction of Harar is the Hyena man who is feeding every evening meat to a troupe of hyenas. He knows all the hyenas by name and when he calls them they appear from the darkness one by one to take the meat from his hand or mouth.
Great sites to visit in Harar include;
- Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town (UNESCO World Heritage) Arthur Rimbaud House
- Harar houses
- National Culture Centre
- Harar Museum
- Hyena Man