|Ethiopia - Harar
Islamic Gateway to Africa
Harar came into formal existence in 1520 when a local amir, Abu Beker Mohamed, moved his capital there from Dakar, site of an older nearby settlement.
The walled city of Harar with its seven gates and distinctive Islamic character is considered by Muslims worldwide to be a 'holy city'. In its past the town served as the Islamic Gateway to Africa.
A local guide (recommended) will navigate the visitor through the interesting narrow alleys. Arrangements are often made with local residents for visits to private homes, where quati a local brew made from coffee leafs is served in traditional fashion.
Of the two small markets, the Muslim Market is the most photogenic with its white buildings and colourfully dressed women - vendors of fruit, grain baskets and other items. Also at interest in Harar, besides the unique architecture and about old walls are Ras Makonnen's pdlace and Jani Mosque.
Haran women have been known for their basketwork and Harar is the place to obtain these colourful mementoes at bargain prices.
Harar is also famous for its 'Hyena Men' who are found nightly outside the city-proper summoning hyena from the surrounding hills and then feed them by either hand or mouth.