Harar (Harari: ሐረር ; Oromo: Adare Biyyo), and known to its inhabitants as Gēy (Harari: ጌይ),it is a walled city in eastern Ethiopia. It is the capital of east Hararghe and the capital of the Harari Region of Ethiopia. The city is located on a hilltop in the eastern extension of the Oromia, 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 “the City of Saints” (مدينة الأَوْلِيَاء, madinat al-awliyaʾ). According to UNESCO, it is “considered ‘the fourth holy city’ of Islam” with 82 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 AH).Harar was later made the new capital of the Adal Sultanate in 1520 by the Somali Sultan Abu 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.

Cultural Tours

Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tours. Tourism may be international, or within the traveller’s country. The World Tourism Organization defines tourism more generally, in terms which go “beyond the common perception of tourism as being limited to holiday activity only”, as people “traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes”.

Tourism can be domestic or international, and international tourism has both incoming and outgoing implications on a country’s balance of payments. Today, tourism is a major source of income for many countries, and affects the economy of both the source and host countries, in some cases being of vital importance.

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