On the Eastern part of the country, perched at the end of a spur projecting from the Central plateau, lays the old walled city of Harar redolent of the Middle Eastern world. Five massive gates in the walls of the city center stand testimony to the need for strong defense, against past intruders. This city was founded 1,000 years ago, around the 10th or 11th century AD when it began to establish itself as an important center of the Islamic faith on the African continent and built cultural, religious and commercial links with other parts of the Muslim world.

Harar is a fortified historic town in southeastern Ethiopia. It has been a major commercial center, linking African and Islamic trade routes.
It has been recognized by Unesco as 'an inland urban settlement with a distinct architectural character and social organization, which cannot be compared to any other town in East Africa. It was registered in 2006.'

It is considered "the fourth holiest city of Islam" with 82 mosques and 102 shrines. The Islamic is town characterized by a maze of narrow alleyways and forbidding facades.

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