Harar is situated in the Eastern Part of Ethiopia at about 71.5 Kilometers fromDiredawa and 511 Kilometers from Addis Ababa.The old medieval walled city of Harar - a city of mosques, minarets and markets, a centre 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. 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 centre selling all sorts of wares.
The walled town
Harar enjoys a mild climate throughout the year. Sir Richard Burton, who was the first European visitor to enter the ‘forbidden city’ L’incognito said, ‘Harar is not hot, cool but not cold’. Harar is considered as the original cultivation center of the world famous Coffee Arabica and the mild stimulant leaf called chat (cath edulis). Both are lucrative export items, which provide the Ethiopian economy with substantial financial resources. With its numerous mosques and shrines, Harar is considered as the ‘fourth holy city of Islam’ after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem It is also considered to be one of the holiest centers of Muslim learning in the Islamic world.
A strong stone and mud wall with five large gates surround the town of Harar. Harari women are famous for making beautiful baskets while the town’s silversmiths are famous for their attractive jewelry. Places of interest to be visited in Harar are: the “Rambaud House” which is named after the famous French poet who lived there in 1880, the rich and exciting market places, the house of RasMekonnen
Hyena Men Performance, Harar
As darkness falls over the ancient walled city of Harar, local people and tourists make their way to the outskirts of the city to see a performance. To illuminate the night's events only the headlights of a car are used. Then a small group of curious spectators gathers a few feet from the hyena man of Harar. He then calls out to wild hyenas using his own "hyena dialect" and the wild animals draw closer from the place of their habitation -the forests surrounding the city.
Mouth to mouth feeding
He picks pieces of raw meat, places them in his mouth hunging on a stick, and then calls out to one of the hyenas to come forward. The called one advances towards him and snatch the meat from his mouth with its large teeth.
According to legend, the hyenas were fed by the inhabitants of Harar to calm down the animals in good times, so that in times of drought they would not attack people or livestock. Today, the hyena men of Harar make a living by feeding wild hyenas for the benefit of tourists and some curious local people.