Harar, with its 16th century walled "old city" of Jugal, is quite distinct from Ethiopia's other historical sites with their strong connections to Orthodox Christianity. While Christianity was introduced and accepted by the nation of Ethiopia very early (only Armenia's conversion precedes it), Islam also arrived at the outskirts of the Ethiopian Empire not long after Mohammed felt called to spread his faith on the nearby Arabian Peninsula.
Today, Harar, with its ninety mosques in Jugal alone, is considered by many to be Islam's fourth holiest city after Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. While it is from here that Ahmed Gragn launched his devastating raids on the Ethiopian highlands in the 16th century, today Harar provides an example to the world as to how the faithful of two of the world's great religions can coexist peacefully. At one time, non-Muslims were forbidden from the old city, but today, all visitors are most welcome to walk its alleyways with their unique homes, colorful markets, and numerous mosques.
Select an image below to view photos of Harar: