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Harar

hararNo journey along Ethiopia’s fabled historic route would be complete without a visit to the medieval walled city of Harar, which stands amid green mountains on the east wall of the Great Rift Valley. Harar’s heritage is almost entirely Muslim and Oriental.Harar has probably always had a great deal more in common with the Horn’s coastal culture than with the life of the highland – and it retains to this day a certain redolence of the Orient. The most dominant features, apart from its strong encircling wall, is its rich and exciting market place – probably the most colorful in Ethiopia. With its 90 mosques and shrines, harar is c
onsidered to be the fourth-most sacred centre of the Islamic word. Its Islamic character is best expressed in the Grand Mosquee (AL Jami), which dominates the town.Rightly renowned for its intricately worked filigree jewellary of silver, gold and amber, Harar’s Megalo Gudo market is also a centre for beautiful baskets of woven grass, decorative wall-mats and bright shawls, as well as all the fruits, vegetables, spices and granins of the province. Harar’s five gates – the only means to enter or leave the city center – have been strongly guarded over the years. The fully restored Rimbaud house is well worth a visit.