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Harar

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Feeding Hyena in  HararA city of mosques, minarets, and markets, a center of Muslim learning, a city which once struck its own local currency, and still has its own unique language - has long been regarded by the outside world as a city of mystery and romance.

Situated on a high escarpment overlooking surrounding plains, which extend as far as the eye can reach, it enjoys a balmy climate and a fascinating history.

Harar MarketHarar in the old days could be reached only by a long caravan or mule journey of many days, weeks, or months; today, however, the city is little more than an hours drive from Dire Dawa, a modern Ethiopian railway town, with an international airport and several first-class Government and private hotels.

The well maintained macadamized highway from Dire Dawa to Harar, provides a delightful journey with numerous panoramic views. The traveler, driving up the winding road from the torrid lowlands to the cool Harari highlands, passes through mountain scenery amazing in its variety and charm and is confronted with a succession of wonderful scenes; sheer walls of naked rock, lofty slopes wooded to the summit with acacia, eucalyptus, and various types of cactus, and descents into deep ravines.

The principal road to the Old City leads past the main hotel - the Ras - the Military Academy, and various other buildings, including a small modern shopping center selling all sorts of wares. The Academy is noted for its stained glass windows depicting Ethiopian warriors of former days.

Harar MosqueThese windows were designed by Ethiopian artist Afewerk Tekle, better known for his internationally renowned stained glass in Addis Ababas Africa Hall, the Headquarters of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa. Another of his works, an equestrian statue of Ras Makonnen, governor of Harar at the turn of the century, stands nearby, only a few minutes walk from the Ras Hotel.

Harar, then as now, was situated in rich and highly cultivated agricultural land, watered by innumerable springs, streams and rivers. This land yielded an abundance of crops: wheat, millet, maize and other grains, as well as an unimaginable variety of fruit and vegetables.

Also of great importance was coffee, cultivated for many centuries in gardens around the city, and the mild narcotic chat, or Catha edulis, which, as the years rolled by, became increasingly popular, and is today exported in large quantities to neighboring lands.

The historical importance of Harar, its unique buildings, its great encircling wall, and its well fashioned gates, received international recognition in 1989 when they were listed by UNESCO as part of the cultural heritage, not only of the city and of Ethiopia, but of humanity as a whole.
 

Feedback From Clients

Gill Bradford Jones


Louis I had meant to get back with you as well. This was the trip of a lifetime! We had such an incredible experience. Cape Town was wonderful--perfect weather. Mala Mala was undoubtedly our favorite. Saw so much game and the guides now feel like extended family members. Vic Falls was beautiful but we weren't too crazy about the Zimbabwe experience. We didn't read enough of the fine print here--we might have been better off on the Zambia side. Seba Camp was the perfect ending to a memorable trip. I have 2000 photos and 3+ hours of video. It will be months of editing before I have something anyone will want to sit through! Thanks for all your help. We have some friends that will likely be contacting you to duplicate our trip!

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