Harar, formerly written Harrar and known to its inhabitants as Gey, is a walled city in eastern Ethiopia. It was formerly the capital of Harergey and now the capital of the modern Harari ethno-political division (or kilil) of Ethiopia. The city is located on a hilltop in the eastern extension of the Ethiopian Highlands, about five hundred kilometers from Addis Ababa at an elevation of 1,885 meters. Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Harar has an estimated total population of 122,000, of whom 60,000 were males and 62,000 were females. According to the census of 1994, on which this estimate is based, the city has a population of 76,378.For centuries, Harar has been a major commercial centre, linked by the trade routes with the rest of Ethiopia, the entire Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and, through its ports, the outside world. Harar Jugol, the old walled city, was included in the World Heritage List in 2006 by UNESCO in recognition of its cultural heritage. It is sometimes known in Arabic as "the City of Saints" ("Madinat al-Awilya"). According to UNESCO, it is "considered 'the fourth holy city' of Islam" with 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century and 102 shrines. The Fath Madinat Harar records that the cleric Abadir Umar Ar-Rida and several other religious leaders settled in Harar circa 612H (1216 AD). Harar was later made the new capital of the Adal Sultanate in 1520 by the Sultan Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad.The city saw a political decline during the ensuing Emirate of Harar, only regaining some significance in the Khedivate of Egypt period. During Abyssinian rule, the city decayed while maintaining a certain cultural prestige. Today, it is the seat of the Harari ethno-political division.
People: The inhabitants of Harar represent several different Afro-Asiatic-speaking ethnic groups, both Muslim and Christian, including the Oromo, Somali, Amhara, Gurage and Tigray. The Harari, who refer to themselves as Gey 'Usu ("People of the City") are a Semitic-speaking people. Their language, Harari, constitutes a Semitic pocket in a predominantly Cushitic-speaking region. Originally written in the Arabic script, the Harari language has recently converted to the Ge'ez script.
Besides the stone wall surrounding the city, the old town is home to 110 mosques and many more shrines, centered on Feres Magala square. Notable buildings include Medhane Alem Cathedral, the house of Ras Mekonnen, the house of Arthur Rimbaud, and the sixteenth century Jami Mosque. Harrar Bira Stadium is the home stadium for the Harrar Beer Bottling FC. One can also visit the market.
Feeding hyenasA long-standing tradition of feeding meat to spotted hyenas also evolved during the 1960s into an impressive night show for tourists. (See spotted hyenas in Harar.)
Other places of interest include the highest amba overlooking the city, the Kondudo or "W" mountain, which hosts an ancient population of feral horses. A 2008 scientific mission has unleashed efforts for their conservation, as the animals are greatly endangered.
The Harar Brewery was established in 1984. Its beers can be sampled at the brewery social club adjacent to the brewery in Harar.Intercity bus service is provided by the Selam Bus Line Share Company.