WEDDING IN HARAR, ETHIOPIA
From the earliest documents the central Ethiopian group who
founded Harar, an indigenous urban complex without parallel in
Ethiopia, have been known as Harari. They form a single tribal
group and refer to themselves as Hararge, literally "people
of the city", the suffix ge signifying "city."
Harage call their language ge sinan, or "the language of
Harar, an ancient city surrounded by great
walls has the most colorful market place in Ethiopia. Harar was
for centuries the main center for Islamic learning and culture
in Ethiopia, and a prosperous center for the caravan trade. Harar
is the spiritual heart of Ethiopia's large Muslim community.
With its 90 + mosques in a small city of less than one square
mile (the highest concentration in the world), Harar is considered
by some to be the fourth holiest Muslim city in the world. The
city was founded in the early 12th century. The great walls surrounding
Harar were built in the 1600s to keep out powerful neighboring
Harar remained an important center of Muslim
learning and trade throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Only
Muslims were allowed to enter its great walls.
The first European to visit Harar was the
British explorer Richard Burton. Burton spent 10 anxious days
there in 1854, not sure whether he was a guest or prisoner of
the Emir. Another famous 19th century visitor was the French
Poet Arthur Rimbaud who abandoned poetry at the age of 19, and
then after 7 footloose years in Europe, moved to Harar in 1880.
Rimbaud remained in Harar until his death in 1891. The house
where he lived is now a museum.
Harar's autonomy ended in 1875 with its capture
by Egypt. The Egyptians left in 1884 after continued resistance.
However, Harar was once again captured , this time by Menelik
II three years later. It has been part of Ethiopia ever since.
Today, Harar remains a lively, friendly cosmopolitan city. Population
approximates 130,000, is 100% Muslim, and literate.
A groom and his best man on revelers' shoulders.
Celebration the night before the wedding
The bride's wedding party (the bridesmaids).
A child at the wedding
An Harari woman of Indian origin.
Photos of the City of Harar:
Two women walk in Dire Dawa.
A narrow cobblestoned city street.
A marketplace outside the city walls.
More about Harar, from the Encyclopedia Brittanica:
also spelled HARER city, eastern Ethiopia, in the Ch'erch'er
Mountains, at an elevation of 6,000 feet (1,800 metres). Probably
founded in the 7th century AD by immigrants from Hadramawt in
southern Arabia, Harer became the capital of the Muslim state
of Adal. Conflict with Christian Ethiopians and the Oromo, however,
forced removal of the capital in 1577 to the Aussa desert 100
miles (160 km) north. Sir Richard Burton, the first European
visitor, described the city of Harer in First Footsteps in East
Africa (1856), and the French poet Arthur Rimbaud lived there
(1880-91) as a trader in arms and ammunition. Occupied by the
Egyptians (1875-85), Harer was conquered in 1887 by Menilek II,
king of Shewa and afterward emperor of Ethiopia. Ras Makonnen
was then appointed governor of Harer province, and in 1910 his
son, the future emperor Haile Selassie I, assumed the governorship.
Ras Makonnen's Harer Palace was mostly destroyed in World War
II; his mausoleum is south of the city at the foot of Mount Ghirella.
Modern Harer surrounds the old capital, which is Ethiopia's
only walled city. The ancient walls, with six gates, enclose
a crowded Muslim town with alleyways that wind to a central marketplace.
Outside the walls, the city spreads across the plateau and is
characterized by northern Ethiopian and European architecture.
Because of ritual differences in slaughtering, separate Muslim
and Christian marketplaces are maintained.
Harer's trading activities, eclipsed by those of Dire Dawa
(35 miles [56 km] northwest) in the 20th century, are now limited
for the most part to coffee and grain distribution. Local, diversified
agriculture is supplemented by oilseed pressing and the processing
of sansevieria fibre. Basket weaving is a commercially important
craft, as is the production of silver jewelry. The population
includes the local Hareri (Adere), who speak a Semitic language
and have a literature written in Arabic script, as well as the
Amhara, Oromo, and Somalis. The Harer Military Academy is situated
in the town. A wildlife refuge is located to the south, and the
'Alem Maya (Alemaya) University of Agriculture is nearby. Pop.