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Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town

Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town

The fortified historic town of Harar is located in the eastern part of the country on a plateau with deep gorges surrounded by deserts and savannah. The walls surrounding this sacred Muslim city were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. Harar Jugol, said to be the fourth holiest city of Islam, numbers 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines, but the townhouses with their exceptional interior design constitute the most spectacular part of Harar's cultural heritage. The impact of African and Islamic traditions on the development of the town's building types and urban layout make for its particular character and uniqueness.

Harar Jugol, la ville historique fortifiée

La ville fortifiée de Harar est située dans la partie orientale du pays, sur un plateau encerclé par le désert et la savane et entaillé par de profondes gorges. Les murs ceignant cette ville sacrée musulmane ont été construits entre le XIIIe et XVIe siècles. Harar Jugol, connue comme la quatrième ville la plus sainte de l’Islam, compte 82 mosquées, dont trois datent du Xe siècle, et 102 sanctuaires. Mais l’aspect le plus spectaculaire du patrimoine culturel réside dans la maison harari traditionnelle avec son exceptionnelle conception intérieure. L’impact des traditions africaines et islamiques sur le développement des types de constructions de la ville et de ses plans urbains constitue son caractère particulier et unique.

حرار جوغول، المدينة التاريخيّة المحصّنة

مدينة حرار المحصّنة تقع في الجزء الشرقي من البلاد على هضبةٍ تحيطها الصحراء والسافانا وتتوغّل فيها ناحتةً مضائق سحيقة. شيّدت الأسوار التي تزنّر هذه المدينة المسلمة العريقة بين القرنين الثالث والسادس عشر. ولا تزال سمعت حرار جوغول ذائعة باعتبارها المدينة الإسلاميّة الرابعة الأكثر قداسةً وهي تضمّ 82 جامعاً ومنها ثلاثة ترقى إلى القرن العاشر و102 موقع مقدّس. ولكنّ الطابع الأكثر تميّزاً للتراث الثقافي يقع في المنزل الحراري التقليدي بهندسته الداخليّة الاستثنائيّة. ويُشكّل تأثير التقاليد الإفريقيّة والإسلاميّة في تطوّر أنواع البناء في المدينة وخططها الحضريّة استدامةً لطابعها المتميّز والفريدِ من نوعه.

الماضي المحصن بالأسوار رسالة اليونسكو (2006)

source: UNESCO/ERI

历史要塞城市哈勒尔

历史要塞城市哈勒尔位于埃塞俄比亚东部高原,高原上深峡密布,四周环绕着沙漠和大草原。这座穆斯林圣城的城墙建于公元13世纪至16世纪之间。哈勒尔城传说是名列第四位的伊斯兰圣城,共有82座清真寺和102处圣地,其中有3座清真寺可追溯公元10世纪。哈勒尔城最普遍的房屋是传统的连栋房屋,一层有三个房间,庭院有礼拜区域;另一种形式的房屋称作印度式房屋,由1887年以后来哈勒尔城发展的印度商人所建,房屋是简朴的长方形两层楼,并有可以俯瞰街道或庭院的阳台;第三种房屋就是上述两种的综合体。哈勒尔人以其高质量的手工制品著称,包括织物、编篮、书籍装订等,但有着非凡内部设计的房屋是哈勒尔文化遗产中最壮观的部分。这类的建筑形式具有代表性,特別而新颖,不同于伊斯兰国家常见的家居风格,即便在埃塞俄比亚,也是别具一格。哈勒尔当前的城市格局形成于16世纪,与其他伊斯兰城镇一样,有着迷宫般的窄巷以及令人望而却步的房屋外观。从1520年至1568年期间,这里一直是哈拉里王国的首都。16世纪末到19世纪,哈勒尔城曾是著名的贸易和伊斯兰文化中心。17世纪时,这里曾是一个独立的酋长国,然后被埃及统治了10年,直到1887年才成为埃塞俄比亚领土的一部分。非洲及伊斯兰传统对这个城镇特定建筑风格和城市格局发展的影响,造就了哈勒尔城独特的风格,奠定了其独一无二的地位。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Укрепленный исторический город Харар-Джуголь

Город Харар расположен в восточной части страны, на плато, рассеченном глубокими ущельями, в окружении пустынь и саванн. Его укрепленная историческая часть, окруженная стенами, построенными между ХIII и ХVI вв – Джуголь, священна для мусульман. Харар-Джуголь, как говорят, четвертый по религиозному значению город ислама, имеет 82 мечети, три из которых были основаны еще в Х в., и 102 места поклонения. Большинство обычных жилых домов в Харар-Джуголе – это традиционные здания, состоящие из трех комнат на уровне земли и подсобных площадей во дворе. Дома другого типа, называемые индийскими, построены индийскими торговцами, которые поселились в Хараре после 1887 г.; это простые прямоугольные двухэтажные здания с верандами, открытыми или на улицу, или во двор. Третий тип зданий является комбинацией элементов первых двух типов. Народность харари известна высоким развитием своих ремесел, включая ткачество, плетение корзин и переплетное дело; однако, наиболее примечательную часть культурного наследия Харара представляют жилые дома с исключительными по оформлению интерьерами. Их архитектура очень специфична и отличается от планировки жилых домов, типичной для других мусульманских стран. Она уникальна и для Эфиопии. Харар сложился в своих современных градостроительных формах в ХVI в., как исламский город, характерный лабиринтом узких проулков и глухих фасадов. С 1520 по 1568 гг. он был столицей государства Харари. С конца ХVI по ХIХ вв. Харар был известен, как центр торговли и исламского образования. В ХVII в. он стал независимым эмиратом, а затем был оккупирован Египтом и десять лет спустя, в 1887 г., стал частью Эфиопии. Влияние африканских и исламских традиций на развитие специфических типов зданий и планировку города определили особый характер и даже уникальность Харара.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Muralla o jugol de Harrar, ciudad histórica fortificada

La ciudad histórica fortificada de Harrar se halla emplazada en un meseta cortada por desfiladeros profundos y circundada por un paisaje de sabana y zonas desérticas. Las murallas que rodean esta ciudad musulmana fueron construidas entre los siglos XIII y XVI. Se ha dicho que Harrar es la cuarta ciudad santa del Islam, ya que posee 82 mezquitas –tres de las cuales datan del siglo X– y 102 santuarios. El aspecto más notable del patrimonio cultural de esta ciudad es el diseño excepcional del interior de sus casas. La repercusión de las tradiciones africanas e islámicas en la concepción de los tipos de hábitat y del plan de ordenación urbana ha contribuido al carácter particular y único de esta ciudad.

source: UNESCO/ERI

ハラール・ジャゴル要塞歴史都市

source: NFUAJ

Versterkte historische stad Harar Jugol

De versterkte historische stad Harar ligt in het oostelijke deel van Ethiopië op een plateau met diepe kloven, omgeven door woestijnen en savannes. De muren rondom deze ‘vierde heilige islamitische stad’ werden gebouwd tussen de 13e en de 16e eeuw en dienden als een beschermende barrière. In de muren zaten vijf historische poorten, die overeenkwamen met de belangrijkste wegen naar de stad en daarnaast dienden om de stad te verdelen in vijf wijken. De stad telt 82 moskeeën en 102 heiligdommen, maar de herenhuizen - met hun uitzonderlijke interieur - vormen het meest spectaculaire deel van Harar.

Source: unesco.nl

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Rimbaud's house at Harar Jugol © UNESCO/Serge Santelli
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The fortified historic town of Harar is located in the eastern part of Ethiopia, 525 km from the capital of Addis Ababa, on a plateau with deep gorges surrounded by deserts and savannah. The walls surrounding this sacred city, considered “the fourth holy city” of Islam, were built between the 13th and 16th centuries and served as a protective barrier. There were five historic gates, which corresponded to the main roads to the town and also served to divide the city into five neighbourhoods, but this division is not functional anymore. The Harar gate, from where the main streets lead to the centre, is of recent construction.

Harar Jugol numbers 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, 102 shrines and a number of traditional, Indian and combined townhouses with unique interior designs, which constitute a spectacular part of Harar's cultural heritage. The African and Islamic traditions influenced over a long period of time the development of the city and its typical urban planning and contributed to its particular character and uniqueness. The present urban layout follows the 16th century design for an Islamic town with its central core occupied with commercial and religious buildings and a maze of narrow alleyways with imposing facades. The traditional Harari house has a typical, specific and original architectural form, different from the domestic layout usually known in Muslim countries, although reminiscent of the coastal Arab architecture, and with an exceptional interior design. At the end of the 19thcentury Indian merchants built new houses with wooden verandas that defined a different urban landscape and influenced the construction of the combined Indian/Harari houses. Their architectural and ornamental qualities are now part of the Harari cultural heritage. 

Harar functioned as the capital of the Harari Kingdom from 1520 to 1568, became an independent emirate in the 17th century and was integrated into Ethiopia in 1887. From the late 16th century to the 19th century Harar was an important trade centre between the coast and the interior highlands and a location for Islamic learning.

Today Harar is the administrative capital of the Harari People National Regional State (HPNRS). The historic town has a traditionally functioning community, forming a complex social-environmental whole where each element has its symbolic and practical significance. The Harari people are distinguished by the continued cultural traditions and quality of their handicrafts, including weaving, basket making and book binding. The organization of the communities through traditional systems has preserved its social and physical inheritance and, significantly, the Harari language.

 

Criterion (ii): The historic town of Harar Jugol exhibits an important interchange of values of original Islamic culture, expressed in the social and cultural development of the city enclosed within the otherwise Christian region. Such influences have been merged with traditions that relate to the inland of Africa and particularly to southern Ethiopia, giving a particular characteristic form to its architecture and urban plan.

Criterion (iii): Harar Jugol bears exceptional testimony to cultural traditions related to Islamic and African roots. It is considered “the fourth holy city” of Islam, having been developed by a holy missionary from the Arabic Peninsula. Though a trading place and thus a melting pot of various influences, Harar has been in relative isolation in its region, contributing to a cultural specificity, expressed in its characteristic community structure and traditions, which are still alive.

Criterion (iv): Harar Jugol is an outstanding example of a type of architectural and urban ensemble which illustrates the impact of African and Islamic traditions on the development of specific building types. The building types and the entire urban layout reflect these traditions, which give a particular character and even uniqueness to Harar Jugol.

Criterion (v): Harar Jugol with its surrounding landscape is an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, representative of cultural interaction with the environment. The social and spatial structure (afocha) and the language of the people all reflect a particular and even unique relationship that there developed with the environment. The cultural and physical relationships with the territory have survived till today, but they are also vulnerable to irreversible change under the impact of the modern globalizing world.

 

Integrity

The inscribed property of Harar Jugol has a core zone of 48 ha which encompass the entire walled city and contains all the attributes that sustain the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. The buffer zone extends 800m to the south and 1700m to the east whilst, on the west side, it is narrow and confined by the new town of Harar. Urban encroachment, on the western edge of the walled town, is the current concern.

Although there have been some urban development towards the west and north parts, the historic city remains intact on the eastern and south-eastern part of the walled town where the essential relationship between the urban and rural areas is still maintained.

Except for some changes that took place in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the replacement of the principal Mosque by the Orthodox Church, and the enlargement of the main street leading from the western gate, the historic city has kept its traditional housing reasonably intact.

However, the integrity of the property can be threatened by emerging trends to alter and modernize the traditional buildings, which would make them susceptible to irreversible change. Careful monitoring, enforcement of regulations, raising awareness and the promotion of preservation attitudes amongst the inhabitants are actions needed to maintain integrity. 

 

Authenticity

Harar Jugol is a rare example of a relatively well preserved historic town that has retained its traditions, urban fabric, and rich Harari Muslim cultural heritage to the present time. It is one of the holy towns of Islam in Africa, and the capital of a minority region within Christian Ethiopia. The historic city is physically limited and well defined by its 16th century surrounding wall and the setting has been retained along the eastern and south-eastern sides of the property. However, inappropriate interventions, such as plastering the houses, changing doors from wood to metal, the introduction of non-traditional materials and visual impacts such as TV antennas have been gradually affecting the authenticity of the historic fabric. Guidelines for interventions need to be enforced and communicated amongst the inhabitants to prevent further impacts on the authenticity of the property.

 

Protection and management requirements

Harar has been officially registered as an Ethiopian National Heritage site since 1974. The legislative framework which protects the property includes the “Heritage Conservation Draft Proclamation of Harari People National Regional State” (January 2000), "The Establishment of Harar Heritage Conservation Office" (Proclamation no. 21/1992) and the Federal Proclamation no. 209/2000 for “Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage”. In addition, four levels of protection have been identified for the property within the Management Plan: principal monuments, important historic buildings, contextual urban fabric and ‘out-of-context’ buildings.

The Centre for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH), established in 1976, is responsible for the inventory and the definition of conservation policies, providing support for restoration work, and making decisions over grants and permits. The local authority and the Kebele act as administrative offices in the process. The Jugol Heritage Conservation Office (JHCO), established in 2003, has a management committee and serves as a liaison between the Harari Counsel, under the General Meeting of the Harari People National Regional State, and representatives of the administrative and social structure in Jugol. The main source of funding comes from the government. However, there has been cooperation between the local authority, the Urban Development Support Service, and the German Technical Organization.

The Urban Master Plan and the GIS system that inventories historic structures are tools to drive decision-making at the property. The Master Plan has the main objectives of preserving historic heritage, improving living conditions for the inhabitants and the promotion of tourism in addition to the conservation of the agricultural landscape in the buffer zone. Factors that need to be addressed through management and conservation actions include the enforcement of regulations for new constructions, infrastructure development, waste management, the maintenance and conservation of historic buildings as well as the preservation of the setting. The management of Harar Jugol will need to address the challenges faced to achieve the delicate balance between the need for conservation of cultural heritage and traditional values with those for the improvement of quality of life and sustainable development.

Historical Description

The origins of Harar are obscure, and the main source of information is oral tradition. There is a myth, according to which, in July 1256, there arrived from the Arab Peninsula 405 sheikhs who chose this site to found the city. Some sources indicate that Harar came into being around the 10th century or even earlier. Islam was introduced to Ethiopia in the 9th century. Three mosques of Harar have been dated to the 10th century (Aw Mansur and Garad Muhammad Abogh in Jugol, and Aw Machad Mosque outside). Between 1277 and 1285, a neighboring lord created a coalition of five Muslim principalities. From that time on, the trade was in the hands of the Muslims, and Harar became a principal trading post.

In the 16th century, Harar was established in its present urban form and from 1520 to 1568 it was the capital of the Harari Kingdom. From the second half of the 16th century until the 19th century, Harar was noted as a centre of trade and Islamic learning in the Horn of Africa. In the 17th century it became an independent emirate. Nevertheless, this was also a period of decline, and the population fell from some 50,000 to ca. 12,000.

Due to its fame, Harar attracted the interest of the Egyptians, who occupied it from 1875 to 1885. Following this, in 1887, Harar was conquered by Menelik, the king of Asmaadin and later Emperor of Ethiopia. At this time, the Great Mosque at Faras Magala was destroyed and replaced by an octagonal Orthodox church. Menelik also opened the sixth gate and cut through a new street in the east-west direction. At the end of the 19th century, there was immigration of Indian merchants, who introduced the Indian house type and the combined version.

From 1938 to 1942, Ethiopia was occupied by the Italians. In the subsequent period, due to various problems, Ethiopia and with it also Harar have been subject to famine, civil war, and economic decline, including for example land reform, which in reality decreased productivity of agriculture. After the end of the dictatorship in 1991, there was a slight improvement until the war with Eritrea. At the moment, Harar Jugol needs to rebuild its economy on the basis of sustainable development.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation