Harar

Harar

Harar (Harari: ሐረር ; Oromo : Adare Biyyo; Somali: Xarar), and known to its inhabitants as Gêy (Harari: ጌይ), is a walled city in eastern Ethiopia. It is the capital of East Hararghe and the capital of the Harari Region of Ethiopia. The city is located on a hilltop in the eastern extension of the Oromia, about five hundred kilometers from the national capital Addis Ababa at an elevation of 1,885 meters. Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Harar had an estimated total population of 122,000, of whom 60,000 were males and 62,000 were females. According to the census of 1994, on which this estimate is based, the city had a population of 76,378.

For centuries, Harar has been a major commercial center, 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, the old walled city, was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2006 by UNESCO in recognition of its cultural heritage.. Because of Harar's long history of involvement during times of trade in the Arabian Peninsula, the Government of Ethiopia has made it a criminal offence to demolish of interfere with any historical sites or fixtures in the city. These include stone homes, museums and items discarded from war. It is sometimes known in Arabic as "the City of Saints" (مدينة الأَوْلِيَاء, madinat al-awliyaʾ). 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.

The Fath Madinat Harar records that the cleric Abadir Umar ar-Rida and several other religious leaders settled in Harar circa 1216 (612 AH). Harar was later made the new capital of the Adal Sultanate in 1520 by the Somali Sultan Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad. The city saw a political decline during the ensuing Emirate of Harar, only regaining some significance in the Khedivate of Egypt period. During the Ethiopian Empire, the city decayed while maintaining a certain cultural prestige. Today, it is the seat of the Harari Region.

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