Historically, the most significant settlement in the east is the walled city of Harar, which more or less took its present shape in the 15 century. Famed, too, as the birthplace of the late Emperor Hailesillasie I, Harar serves as the spiritual heart of Ethiopia’s Muslim population. In fact, Harar is regarded as the fourth holiest Muslim city in the world next to Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Its 90 plus mosques, most of them private, are said to form the largest concentration of such shrines in the world.
The old medieval walled city of Harar - a city of mosques, minarets, and markets, a centre of Muslim learning, a city which once struck its own local currency, and still has its own unique language - has long been regarded by the outside world as a city of mystery and romance.
The city is well known for its superb handicrafts that include woven textiles, basket ware, silverware and handsomely bound books, and Harar has been a place of pilgrimage from all over the world for many years. This walled city is thought to be Ethiopia's tourist centre of the future.
Harar is situated in the Eastern Part of Ethiopia at about 54 Kilometers from Diredawa and 525 Kilometers from Addis Ababa.
Hyena Man’s Performance
As darkness falls over the ancient walled city, local people and tourists make their way to the outskirts of the city to see a performance.
To illuminate the night's events only the headlights of a car are used. Then a small group of curious spectators gathers a few feet from the hyena man of Harar. He then calls out to wild hyenas using his own "hyena dialect" and the wild animals draw closer from the wilderness surrounding the city.
He picks pieces of raw meat, places them in his mouth, and then calls out to one of the hyenas to come forward.
The called one advances towards him and snatches the meat from his mouth with its large teeth.
According to legend, the hyenas were fed by the inhabitants of Harar to calm down the animals in good times, so that in times of drought they would not attack people or livestock. Today, the hyena man of Harar makes a living by feeding wild hyenas for the benefit of tourists and some curious local people.