Harar – City of God
Harar – considered “the fourth holy city” of Islam – was built between the 13th and 16th centuries. In 2003 UNESCO awarded the City of Peace Prize to Harar, a small city of 99,000 people, also known as the “City of Saints.” It is an ancient centre of Muslim learning where a grand mosque, an Orthodox church, and a Catholic church all sit at the centre of the walled city.
For centuries, Harar has been a major commercial centre: it is 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.
Despite conditions ripe for violence, Muslims and Christians of Harar have built a robust, deeply rooted culture of peace over the last century. Even with heightened tensions between Muslims and Christians, it has remained peaceful since its violent incorporation into the Ethiopian state more than a century ago.