History of Harar

The complex History of Harar

At the beginning of this project, we set out to summarize the history of Harar. But quickly, we realized the enormity of the task; because, it should be expected that the relative long history of Harar to produce reasonably large amount of materials that need to be examined; adding to the time constraints we were working on. As such, we leave it to the readers to look at some of our suggested sources. We will keep updating this page with new materials as they are discovered. Here is the list:

  1. History of Harar and Hararis.

In 2006, UNESCO marked the city of Harar on the World Heritage List. This is simply because its history and the cultural heritage of its citizens (Hararis) that factor in cataloging this unique city on the World Heritage List. According to UNESCO and others historians, the city was founded between the 13th and the 16th centuries. There are others who put the founding of the city around 1007. Harlas are believed to be the first settlers and founders of the city. Through the centuries the city has developed and evolved and advanced. At the same time, it went through number of political transition. However,  what makes Harar and Hararis unique is that the culture of its subjects remained intact even after a forced integration of Harar to Ethiopian empire in the late 19th century by Emperor Menelik in 1887 after the battle of Chelenko.

The above picture is one of the numerous mosques of Harar. Harar believed to be home for about 100 mosques and several shrines. What is surprising about this is not the number of mosques, but the high concentration of mosques in such small area. The total area of Harar is about 129 SQ-Miles. Some of these mosques were built in the 11th century--yep, that is 1000 years ago, if you count back from this century. Based on this, one can see that Harar was founded centuries before 13th century that some writings claimed.