One of the most memorable sites in Eastern Ethiopia is the world heritage-listed city of Harar. Settled by Arabian immigrants in the 10th century, Harar grew into an important trading center connecting Africa, India and the Middle East. In contrast to a predominantly orthodox Christian nation, Harar is thought to be one of the oldest Islamic cities in East Africa and a gateway to the spread of Islam to the Horn. Over the centuries the city has managed to retain its traditions and Muslim cultural heritage.
The best way to explore the city is by getting lost in the 368 narrow alleyways that make up Harar. In this 1 square kilometer colorful maze visitors can explore lively markets and historic buildings. The highlight of the city is the old walled town known as Jugal. Surrounded by a 5-metre-high wall the ancient city is home to mosques, over 100 shrines and tombs and around 2000 traditional houses, painted in different colors. As the sun sets, head over to the city walls to witness Harar’s most curious tradition: the ritual feeding of hyenas!