Street tailor in Harar, Ethiopia

This post is also available in: French

My souvenirs bring me back to Harar, this very old walled city in eastern Ethiopia.  I spent a few days there and thought I was in another world.  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 World Heritage List in 2006 by UNESCO in recognition of its cultural heritage.  It is sometimes known in Arabic as “the City of Saints” (“Madinat al-Awilya”). 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.

There is a strange ambiance in  this city as there are so many people half asleep everywhere, eating Khat as soon as they get a chance to do so.  A very different place.

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