Harar or Harrar (both: häˈrər) [key], city (1994 pop. 76,378), capital of Harar region, E central Ethiopia, at an altitude of c.6,000 ft (1,830 m). It is the trade center for a region where coffee, cereals, and cotton are produced. Harar was probably founded in the 7th cent. After 1520 the Somali conqueror Ahmad Gran made it the capital of a considerable Muslim state, but an Oromo invasion brought an end (1577) to its political power. The city maintained a precarious independence until its occupation (1875–85) by Egypt. In 1887 it was incorporated into Ethiopia by Menelik II. The Harari inhabitants of the city are a distinctive Ethiopian group who speak a Semitic language, but whose written literature is Arabic. A walled city, Harar was long a center of Islamic learning, and has many mosques and shrines. It also is the site of a military academy and of teacher-training and agricultural schools. It is also spelled Harer.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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