A LOT OF HISTORY IN A SMALL COMPACT TOWN
MILD HASSLES FROM KIDS ("ONE BIRR")
Deceived by Rimbaud's house, but such an exotic place!
In a country with so many poor people and not enough jobs, you will come across men and often young boys who offer to shine your shoes. The young men in the photos operate near one of the gates. They perform a first class job on any shoes. They have professioanl quality polishes, brushes and are expertly trained. You can pay around 10 Birr (about...more
Coffee was ‘invented’ here in Ethiopia and you can see how they produce it for export for free here in Harar. Nure is a coffee company you can stop in for a brief tour. It only takes minutes. They have their old equipment and modern day roasters inside. The staff will happily explain the process of making the coffee, from picking, to roasting,...more
If you look at the scarf of the young girl of the first picture, you see the colours of the Ethiopian flag, but you know you are in Harar if you look at the baskets decorating the wall behind her! The colours, shapes, patterns of these baskets are typical Harari, and these are part of the Harar culture; probably because of the displays you find in...more
Harar, fourth holy city of Islam has changed a lot since Ethiopian take over, in some way. . . . one can drink alcoholic beverages here, there are bars, and. . . there is even a beer brewed here! Ethiopian beers (Except the traditional tej), are lager type beers and, if not always the best on the planet, they are really enjoyable with a meal or at...more
This very easy walk, for about two hours you can walk around the city on a newly paved street (thanks Unesco) lets you discover the gates, the renovated walls, which, if not very impressive, are a nice sight whilst strolling along and give an idea of how Harar was secluded for some centuries.As there is not a lot of traffic outside the city, people...more
This is probably one of the most beautiful houses of Harar, but Rimbaud did not live here, as this house has been built after his death! Here too, it is a house built by an Indian trader and thanks to many French sponsors, this house has been renovated recently and it hosts now a small museum, a library, (books about Rimbaud, but also many other...more
The house of Haile Selassie (The Ras Tafari, ruler of Tafari) is a strange building here in Africa, with these Indian woodcarvings above the main door (picture 1); this house belonged before to an Indian trader and now has become the Sherif Harar Museum, a municipal museum, displaying a bit a messy sampling of local art, souvenirs of the recent and...more
Once you forget a bit you are a foreigner here, and also get relaxed about the crowd pushing you from every sides (keep tightly your belongings, and your bags closed), you really feel plunged back in time when walking up this street, and you can enjoy the local atmosphere. . . and look around you; you may even feel the need for having more eyes in...more
The name of one of the busiest streets of Harar (Makina Gigir) comes from the noise of the sewing machine which work here from dawn to night, and it is supposed to express the noise of the machines. . gigi-gigi-gigi. . . . . Women like beautiful coloured, well cut and sewn clothes, but it is the men here, who are the tailors, and along a 200 m long...more
The original Great Mosque has been destroyed by Menelik II, but all other mosques survived, and now, the great mosque of Harar is the Jami Mosque, built in the 13th century; non-Muslim cannot visit this mosque which contains the memorial of Gragn, the imam who proclaimed jihad against Christian Ethiopia. . . A high wall, erected some 50 years ago...more
There are about 100 mosques in Harar, and where ever you are or look, the probability a mosque in within sight is high! A foreigner cannot visit the mosques here, but at least you can look at them, and in fact the mosques give a charming atmosphere to the city. There are all sorts of mosques, and if some are well visible on the main streets, others...more
One of the first things Menelik II did when he took over Harar and integrated it to the Ethiopian Empire, was to destroy the Great Mosque and replace it by an Orthodox church: Mehdane Alem was built in 1887. Except for masses, this church seems closed, but you can walk around and get an idea of the strength of the local’s faith.Colours, again...more
The side streets of Harar are coloured, and generally very quiet, and there is some poesy (not Rimbaud sensibility) to enjoy there; the colours add to the atmosphere. . . . During the hot hours of the day, in the shade of the walls, enjoy the quietude, look at the few people passing by (picture 2), follow the bigger streets which are also quiet at...more
I found this restaurant just after it first opened. It looked like a snack bar. When the fantastic food arrived at my table, I found out just how wrong I was. When I entered I just wanted a fast food lunch. I was warnly wleocmed and a menu arrived. It was full of great Ethiopian specialties. They also did have a very good looking, and smelling,...more
If you manage to visit the historical city of Harer, make sure you have at least one meal here. They are the real deal for a large meal that’s full of flavour and still won’t cost a lot. They specialise in Ethiopian dishes, but I like a lot of food. Especially if it’s good Ethiopian cuisine. The main picture is my meal. Just ask for ‘Marhaberawi’....more
many guides still write about the famous train linking Djibouti to Addis Abeba; unfortunately, this train does not operate anymore, and even goods transportation stopped one year ago, on that line; in the past, the train stopped at Dire Dawa, and from there, you could go to Harar in less than two hours with a bus or taxi. So, getting to Harar by...more
You can get to harar via bus (11-12 hours) or by plane (1 hour) Dire Dawa and then a 1 hour minbus or cab ride up the hill. I chose to fly..plane was full of aid workers on their way further East..it was a full flight (At Addis the Dire Dawa flight departs from the international terminal and yes it is still a small F-50 prop plane. Onc you land you...more
You can go into some of the local Adare houses here since they sell local baskets made from natural dyes and other jewelry. I found the baskets here a bit nicer than what I saw in Addis at the Markato. Would have bought some stuff here but had already made my purchases in Addis and there was not much room in my pack for the plane trip back to...more
Not a big place and you can walk through it in a couple of minutes..longer if you stop to smell the coffee. While I do not drink the stuff myself. Friends say that it lacks the bitter taste that other coffees have and is amongst the smoothest they have tasted. Fresh roast coffee Couple of bucks depending on how much you wantmore
As a tourist, a foreigner, you may sometimes feel “harassed” by the kids begging for some bir, a pen or whatever they see or think you can give them; don’t give, not because you have a dry heart, but it may create bad habits and the relationship with locals could be false, not honest in some way; better is to talk, with smiles, gestures and a few...more
A very important East African crop is coffee, and if one can get addicted to coffee, the effects are way less harmful than the ones of khat.And many people consider coffee has its origins on the high plateaus of Ethiopia, and indeed, some of the best coffees in the world are grown in Ethiopia, and specially in the Harar area!Like in other places of...more
These donkeys look really exhausted! One must imagine they have carried their load of wood to the city from far in the countryside probably; look well, behind them you can see stacks of wood, they and their fellow creatures carried to the market.Otheres, in the shade of the houses in a small street are waiting to be unloaded when their owner will...more
You need to be very careful taking pictures even near these guys. The men of the Oromo tribe come into Harar to buy goods before returning to their villages. They are very easy to spot by their large bushy hair, blue clothes, weapons and not very happy looks. Yes – I said weapons. They carry clubs and a combination short axe & spear. You could kill someone with it. These guys don’t speak Amharic or Harari and always seem jumpy and paranoid. They will make signs with their hands that you can take pictures, but they want $5. Take their picture without payment and your camera and/or head will probably be hit with one of their weapons.
I am really not joking. Just look at the pictures I took secretly and they are still unhappy by even me looking at them. They even scared some of the street sellers.
Be very careful. Any other folks who might object in Harar with you taking pictures will only shout at you. Nothing else.
How could you visit Harar and not see this????? The hyenas are tame if not timid around humans....maybe because the get feed by them every night or they beat them when the tourists are not around..anyway There are two places to see this at night around 7pm. On spot is down the road from Fallana Gate (where I saw them) and the other is between Sanga Gate and Erer Gate. If you go with Abdul he will hit you up for cab fare which will double as lights for the show. If you have a cheap Nikon like I do will give you plenty of pics with glare from the headlights. Basically its a local who sits on the ground in front of the hungry critters with some short sticks for placing scaps of meat that get dumped into his basket. You will get the chance to feed them as I did..you then realise why they use sticks for feeding. The feeder will even put a stick in his mouth and let them grab a quick bite.
Try and negotiate on the price as the show lasts about 15 min depending on the crowd which can be small depending on the night.
If you are going to travel across the world and visit interesting places like Harar you should take another member of VT along with you! The first photo shows my friend and wonder VA (Virtual Attendee) - Gail. Gail is known as Glo39 here on VT and was a Virtual Attendee at the VT Euromeet in Karlsruhe, Germany. She asked if she could travel with me...more
While Harar has its share of beggers it is nothing like Addis and other parts of Ethiopia. In fact it is somewhat recent in origin here. Bottom line..don't give money to them...the locals discourage it and even frown on it to a certain extent. All you are doing is teaching the kids that it works and you make it worse for the next person that comes...more