Harar city, capital of Harar region in the eastern central Ethiopia, is considered as a blessed city by the Muslims of Ethiopia, and within its walls are no less than 90 mosques.
The city was founded in the 12th century CE. In 1520, it was captured by Ahmed Gragn (the left-handed) who from Harar conquered large parts of Ethiopia. The Somalian conqueror made it the capital of a Muslim state, but an Oromo invasion in 1577 brought an end to its political power.
Oromo (or Galla) were pastoral tribes who live in West and South Ethiopia and part of Kenya. They numbered about 20 million and are largely Muslim. In 1875, Harar came into the hands of the Egyptians and in 1887 of Menelik II whose army defeated Italians at Adwa.
Harar is known for its colorful people and unique atmosphere. The city would at times appear like a village, which has not changed in centuries. All around the walled city and inside are bigger and smaller markets including the famous “chat market.” There are some ancient Harari houses with beautiful painting and sculpture.
The Harari inhabitants of the city are a distinctive Ethiopian group who speak a Semitic language, but whose written literature is Arabic. A walled city, Harar was long a center of Islamic learning. Today it is the site of a military academy and of teacher-training and agricultural schools. It is also spelled Harar.

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