Harar, Addis Ababa - Stein Travel
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Harar

Harar is a fascinating, exotic town of considerable interest to visitors willing to make the 320 miles (520km) journey east from Addis Ababa. Harar is the fourth holiest city in Islam, forbidden to outsiders until 1887 when it became part of the Ethiopian empire.

An enduring reputation for having the most beautiful women in Africa, and possibly Ethiopia's best coffee, adds to the allure of this intriguing destination. The city is perched on the eastern wall of the Great Rift Valley, affording it a cool climate and wonderful views of the soaring mountains to the east. The main attractions are inside the Walled City, a fascinating warren of medieval mosques, houses and markets. Another popular attraction is the nocturnal Hyena Man, who feeds wild hyenas strips of raw meat suspended from his mouth.

Harar's two most famous western inhabitants were Richard Burton, and Arthur Rimbaud, who lived here for a decade in the 1880s, writing poetry and running guns for the sultan. Shoppers should look for the highly regarded hand-crafted silverware, and the locally brewed Harar beer.

Information & Facts

Language

Amharic is the official language, although over 80 local languages are also spoken. English and Arabic are widely spoken as well as some French and Italian.

Money

The official currency is the Ethiopian Birr (ETB), which is divided into 100 cents. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks and authorised hotels. Credit cards have limited usage outside of Addis Ababa, and even in the capital they are only accepted by major establishments. Visitors should carry a supply of travellers cheques or hard currency with them, preferably in US dollars. ATMs are sparse, but banks are usually open every day except Sundays from 8am to 11am and 1pm till 4pm.

Time

Local time is GMT +3.

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