Preservation of Urban and Architectural

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Author : Prof. Hisham Mortada

Year : 2010

Preservation of Urban and Architectural
Heritage of Harar, Ethiopia
Hisham Mortada, Dept. of Architecture, King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Abstract—The evolution of Harar, Ethiopia, goes back to the seventh century, when some Muslims from Mecca migrated to al-Habasha (Ethiopia) before Medina. These men spread Islam from Harar to various parts of the African Horn, thus Harar took a religious fame as the fourth holiest Muslim city. Since then, the city was developed by its Muslim population and became rich in its Islamic urban, architectural and cultural heritage. This has encouraged the UNESCO to declare this city as a World Heritage site. Regardless of the national and international efforts to preserve the Islamic heritage of Hara, the city is still suffering from physical decay. As a result a team from KAU took the responsibly of setting up a master plan aiming to preserve the urban and architectural heritage of Harar. As discussed in this research, the project consists of two phases. The first is an investigation of the potentials of preservation of urban and architectural heritage of Harar. This covers studies of historic, geographic, environmental, socio-cultural, urban and architectural aspects of the city. The second proposes a mechanism of dealing with the heritage of Harar through several stages such as a selection of an action area and surveying it in terms of land uses, building highest, buildings of special historic value, building physical conditions, and construction materials. The project is culminated in a detailed proposal for preservation and development of the action area in a sustainable sense.

Prof. Hisham Mortada is also the author of a book titles

Traditional Islamic principles of built environment. I find this book interesting in understanding how Islamic homes built and why, which reflects how Harari homes built as Islamic heritage city. I would encourage anyone to read the book. For anyone interested to comment on this book or research paper feel free to email it to .

Contributor: Meftuh  Shash

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