Harar – a walled cityHarar was a major commercial and Islamic learning centre. It is a walled city. The wall was built during the time of Emir Nur Ibn Mujahid successor of Ahmad Ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi also known as Ahmad Gragn (the Left Handed) who conquered the Christian highlands in the16th century.

The wall was constructed to protect the city as its people from possible attacks. It is a 3.5 kilometer long wall with a height of nearly 4 meters. It has five gates and the wall is still intact and is a symbol of the town. The presence of 99 mosques made Harar to be considered as the Fourth Holiest City in Islam next to Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Harar is a symbol of tolerance and peaceful co-existence of peoples and religions. Harar is also famous for its “Hyena Men” who make their living by playing on remarkable show of tamed hyenas and also known by its golden coffee.

In recognition of its cultural heritage, the Historic City of Harar (Jugol) was registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2006.

Hyena feeding in Harar
Hyena feeding in HararHarar is famous for its hyena feeding ceremony that take place every evening in two different sites – just outside the walls of old city. “The origin of feeding the hyenas date back to the great famine of the late 19th Century. According to legend, the hyenas were fed by the inhabitants of Harar to pacify the animals in good times, so that in times of drought they would not attack people or livestock” Today, the hyena men of Harar make a living by feeding wild hyenas for the benefit of tourists and curious locals.”

Dire Dewa
Dire Dewa was founded in 1902 when the railroad from Djibouti reached the area, and its growth has resulted largely from trade brought by the railroad.

Being one of the busiest business cities of the country, Dire Dewa is among the valuable areas in Eastern Ethiopia. Dire-dawa lies at 453 kilometers from Addis Abeba. Established at halfway point on Djibouti – Addis Abeba railway line, it serves as a good holiday destination for visitors from Djibouti and Middle East. The International Airport makes, Dire Dewa an important gate way to the Hararge areas contributing as an important tourist destination in the country.

View of Dire dawa
Dire dawaDire Dawa is also an ideal site of ethnic variety whereby diversified cultural styles of Oromo, Somali, Afar, Harari and others are easily observed. Laga Oda Cave formations with pre historic paintings are found at a short distance from Dire-Dewa city.

Qullubi Gabriel Church is one of the remarkable cultural tourist attraction sites along the eastern tourist route. The church is located in Metta district 464 kilometers far from Addis. The church was founded in the town of Qullubbi which is only 62 kilometers before Harar.

A pleasant drive of 138 kilometers east of Chiro to Harar along a very scenic stretch takes one to the site of the church. Being the most popular pilgrimage site of Ethiopian Coptic Orthodox Church, it has eventful religious festival held twice a year, i.e. on Hamle 19(26 July) and Tahisas 19(28 December). Tens of thousands of pilgrims from all over the country attend the ceremony twice every year