History Of Harar

3/30/2010

History Of Harar

Harar (var, Harrar, Harir, Harer; Somali: Adari ) is an eastern city in Ethiopia. The capital of the modern Harari ethno-political division (or kilil) of Ethiopia. The city is located on a hilltop, in the eastern extension of the Ethiopian highlands about five hundred kilometers from Addis Ababa with an elevation of 1885 meters.

Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Harar has an estimated total population of 122,000, of whom 60,000 were males and 62,000 were females.[1] According to the census of 1994, on which this estimate is based, the city has a population of 76,378.

For centuries, Harar has been a major commercial centre, 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 has been included in the World Heritage List in 2006 by UNESCO in recognition of its cultural heritage.[2] According to UNESCO, it is considered 'the fourth holy city' of Islam; with 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines. [3][4]


History

Called Gey ("the City") by its inhabitants, Harar was founded between the 7th and the 11th century (according to different sources)[citation needed] and emerged as the center of Islamic culture and religion in the Horn of Africa.

It was part of the Adal Sultanate (at times a vassal of Ethiopia) of which it became the capital in 1520 under Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad. From Harar, Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi, also known as "Gragn the Left-handed, launched a war of conquest in the sixteenth century that extended its territory. His successor, Emir Nur ibn Mujahid, encircled the city with a wall, 4 meters high and with five gates. This wall, called Jugol, is still intact, and is a symbol of the town to the inhabitants.

The sixteenth century was the Golden Age of Harar. The local culture flourished, and many poets lived and wrote there. It also became known for coffee, weaving, basketry and bookbinding. The rulers 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.[5]

Harar mosques

The old town of Harer is home to 110 mosques and many more shrines, centered on Feres Magala square. Notable buildings include the sixteenth century Jami Mosque. many of the mosques have unique design and architecture that counts way back from centuries of civilization.

Video: From ITN World News




Notes

1. ^ CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table B.4
2. ^ Panda sanctuary, tequila area join UN World Heritage sites
3. ^ "Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town" (in English) (HTML). World Heritage List. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1189. Retrieved 6 August 2009. "It is considered 'the fourth holy city' of Islam, having been founded by a holy missionary from the Arabic Peninsula."
4. ^ "Five new heritage sites in Africa". BBC. July 13, 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/5176110.stm. Retrieved 2006-12-18. "Harar Jugol, seen as the fourth holiest city of Islam, includes 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th Century, and 102 shrines."
5. ^ Richard Pankhurst, An Introduction to the Economic History of Ethiopia (London: Lalibela House, 1961), p. 267.

 

Back to News Page

About Us

Australian Saay Harari Association is a non profit, ethnically based, social organization based in Melbourne, Australia.

Our Contacts

61 Elm Park Dr, Hoppers Crossing
Victoria 3029, Australia

(+614) 018 06 589
(+614) 1364 1816