Harar is a walled city in eastern Ethiopia. It was formerly the capital of Hararghe and now the capital of the modern Harari Region of Ethiopia. The city is located on a hilltop in the eastern extension of the Ethiopian Highlands, about five hundred kilometers from the national capital Addis Ababa at an elevation of 1,885 meters. Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Harar had 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 had a population of 76,378.
For centuries, Harar has been a major commercial center, 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 listed as a World Heritage Site in 2006 by UNESCO in recognition of its cultural heritage.It is sometimes known in Arabic as مدينة الأَوْلِيَاء"the City of Saints". According to UNESCO, it is "considered 'the fourth holy city' of Islam" with 110 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 1216 (612 hijri years).Harar was later made the new capital of the Adal Sultanate in 1520 by the Somali SultanAbu 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 the Ethiopian Empire, the city decayed while maintaining a certain cultural prestige. Today, it is the seat of the Harari Region.
It is likely the original inhabitants of the region were the Harla people. In its early history, the city was under an alliance called the Zeila confederate states.According to twelfth century Jewish traveler Benjamin Tudela, Zeila region was the land of the Havilah, confined by Al-Habashin the west In the ninth century, Harar was under the Makhzumi dynasty. Harar Called Gēy ("the City") by its inhabitants Harari people, Harar emerged as the center of Islamic culture and religion in the Horn of Africa during end of the Middle Ages.
According to the Fath Madinat Harar, an unpublished history of the city in the 13th century, the cleric Abadir Umar ar-Rida, along with several other religious leaders, came from the Arabian Peninsula to settle in Harar circa 612H (1216 CE). Abadir was met by the Harla (Harari people) , Gaturi and Argobba. Abadir's brother Fakr ad-Din subsequently founded the Sultanate of Mogadishu.
According to the 14th century chronicles of Amda Seyon I, Gēt (Gēy) was an Arab colony in Harla country.During the Middle Ages, Harar was part of the Adal Sultanate, becoming its capital in 1520 under Sultan Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad. The sixteenth century was the city's Golden Age. The local culture flourished, and many poets lived and wrote there. It also became known for coffee, weaving, basketry and bookbinding.
From Harar, Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi, also known as "Gurey" and "Grañ" (both meaning "the Left-handed"), launched a war of conquest in the sixteenth century that extended the polity's territory and threatened the existence of the neighboring Christian Ethiopian Empire. His successor, Emir Nur ibn Mujahid, built a protective wall around the city. Four meters in height with five gates, this structure, called Jugol, is still intact and is a symbol of the town to the inhabitants. Silt'e, Wolane, Halaba and Harari, lived in Harar while the former three moved to the Gurage region.