HARAR AND DIRE DAWA
Harar is located in the eastern part of the country and part of the historic circuits. The walled city of Harar is an ancient city with rich and colorful history. Harar is 523 kilometers east of Addis Ababa, the capital. The most dominant feature of Harar is its strong encircling wall, which embraces the town, its exciting market places, and its 99 mosques. Harar is the fourth holiest city after Makka, Madina and Jerusalem.Harar in the old days could be reached only by a long caravan or mule journey of many days, weeks, or months.
Available tours lasting from 3 up to 4 days.
The walls of Harar were pierced in early times by five gates, a number supposed to symbolize the Five Pillars of Islam. These gates, known to the Hararis as bari, were situated respectively to the north, east, south-east, south, and west of the city. Each had its own distinctive name, and provided entry and egress to caravans traveling to and from different stretches of the surrounding country.
Each of these gates thus played a different role in the economy of the city and of neighboring lands. The northern gate, for example, was known as the Assum Bari, because it was used by traders importing assu, or pepper and salt, from the Gulf of Aden coast of Africa; while the eastern gate was called the Argob Bari because it served merchants handling the lucrative trade from Argobba, one of Ethiopias inland regions.
The gates of Harar in olden days were strongly guarded, and were strictly closed at night – for no one was allowed to enter or leave the city during the long hours of darkness. Strangers wishing to enter Harar in daytime had first to deposit their spears, guns and other arms with the cities guards, who would look after them scrupulously, and return them when their owners were ready to leave. The walls had, however, a number of holes placed to allow the drainage of water and sewage and to enable hyenas, who constituted the principal garbage collectors, to enter the settlement at night and leave it before the break of dawn.