The City Of Harar And The Traditional Harar House (1)

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Author : 1982

Year : 1982

The City
The small, walled city of Harar, where everything happens that is of importance to the dominant group of the town, the Harari, is divided into five quarters (map), each near one of the five classical gates (no longer in use today): in the West, Asäddim Bäri(2) originally Asm ad-din Bäri, named after a noble warrior or general, who probably lived at the end of the 16th century;(3) in the South, Bädro Bäri; probably named after a nobleman Badr ad-din;(4) in the South-East, Suqtut Bäri; in the East, towards the Erer Valley, Argob Bäri; and in the North, Assum Bäri – translated “Axum Gate”(5); it is said, however, that a spice named assu (ässu) used to be imported through the Assum Gate.(6)
After Menilek’s conquest two more gates were added: Duk Bäri in the West, which was embellished with an arched stone structure between 1968 and 1975, and Bärbäri Bäri in the North West.(7) Both gates, or road thoroughfares, are shown in the maps of Harar of the Guida(8) and in Scarin(9). Both maps, however, make clear that the “Scioa” Gate (Asäddim Bäri) was still more important than the Duk Bäri at the time of the Italian occupation, while the Bärbäri Bäri was destroyed during the same period.(10)
Each quarter is divided in turn into a number of neighborhoods (toya), which are often named after a Muslim shrine or an old tree serving as a landmark. Waldron(11) has listed 59 such neighborhoods.(12)