Author : Raphaël ALESSANDRI,BONNET-CHELHI, BOSREDON, GREINER,REVAULT, SANTELLI,
Year : 2006
NOMINATION OF PROPERTIES
FOR INCLUSION ON THE WORLD HERITAGE LIST
Authors : Raphaël ALESSANDRI, architect
Nadia AMMI, anthropologist
Nadège BONNET-CHELHI, anthropologist
Pauline BOSREDON, historian
Emma GREINER, historian
Philippe REVAULT, architect
Serge SANTELLI, architect.
SITE NAME: Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town
DATE OF INSCRIPTION: 16 July 2006
STATE PARTY: Ethiopia
CRITERIA: C (ii)(iii)(iv)(v)
DECISION OF THE WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE:
Excerpt from the Decisions of the 30th Session of the World Heritage Committee
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 founded 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 modern globalizing world.
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. The most common houses in Harar Jugol are traditional townhouses consisting of three rooms on the ground floor and service areas in the courtyard. Another type of house, called the Indian House, built by Indian merchants who came to Harar after 1887, is a simple rectangular two-storied building with a veranda overlooking either street or courtyard. A third type of building was born of the combination of elements from the other two. The Harari people are known for the quality of their handicrafts, including weaving, basket making and book-binding, but the houses with their exceptional interior design constitute the most spectacular part of Harar’s cultural heritage This architectural form is typical, specific and original, different from the domestic layout usually known in Muslim countries. It is also unique in
Ethiopia. Harar was established in its present urban form in the 16th century as an Islamic town characterized by a maze of narrow alleyways and forbidding facades. From 1520 to 1568 it was the capital of the Harari Kingdom. From the late 16th century to the 19th century, Harar was noted as a centre of trade and Islamic learning. In the 17th century it became an independent emirate. It was then occupied by Egypt for ten years and became
part of Ethiopia in 1887. The impact of African and Islamic traditions on the development of the town’s specific building types and urban layout make for the particular character and even uniqueness of Harar.
Contributor: Meftuh Shash