Town of Harar
Harar, a walled city
The city is located at the foot of the Ahmar Mountains, and to the north is the huge Danakil desert. At an altitude of 1856 metres, Harar has a different vibe than the rest of Ethiopia. In fact, it feels like a place in the Arab world more than in Ethiopia. Indeed, the city, contrary to several others in the country, is of Islamic faith rather than Orthodox Christian.
Even though at the beginning, we were a bit daunted by the chaos and the faded look of the old city, we rapidly started to like it. Here, there are few tourists and few shops and restaurants for them. Thus, it feels like navigating through an authentic city with some very nice alleys and numerous mosques.
Harar is also known for an activity, called 'Hyena Feeding'. Are you curious to know what it is? The answer is coming in the next post...
At the Market
In the footstep of Rimbaud
Arthur Rimbaud has lived in the city of Harar for a while. However, the place where he stayed has never been identified. Despite that, this magnificent house probably owned by a rich Indian merchant, has become a small museum dedicated to the famous poet.
Khat, a social problem?
The region around Harar is known for the quality of its coffee as well as its khat. The latter is a shrub whose leaves are prized for their stimulating quality. The leaves are especially used in Muslims country such as Djibouti, Yemen and some regions of Ethiopia.
The problem after excessive consumption is that a person feels uncomfortable, tired and somewhat depressed. In the afternoon, people become lazy so that village and city activities slow down to a crawl. Moreover, buying khat becomes a financial burden for a lot of people.
In Harar, we saw a lot of people using khat. It is probably for this reason that people are so friendly...