The city of Harar is an ancient (1520) and holy city. Harar was an important trading center. The city is famous for its ancient buildings, its great city walls and as a center of Islamic learning (the city has 99 mosques). It is believed to be the fourth holiest city for Islam after Mecca, Medina & Jerusalem. The city is well known for its superb handicrafts that include woven textiles, basket ware, silverware and handsomely bound books. Harar has been a place of pilgrimage from all over the world for many years. Harar's attractions are: Harari homes are unique and reminiscent of coastal Arab architecture. Bowls, dishes, and basketry are hung in stylized fashion on the wall, but all are functional. As evening falls, local men attract wild hyenas to the city in a bizarre spectacle as they bravely feed these dangerous scavengers.
The Muslims of Harar wear colorful dress. The men often dress in red, purple or black. The women of Harar part their hair in the middle and make large buns behind their ears. Harari women have been known for their basketwork for centuries and still weave intricate creations from coloured fibers and grasses. Harar is also famous for the work of its silversmiths, who craft beautiful anklets, necklaces, arm bands, silver chains, bangles and earrings out of the precious metal. Although these items can be purchased at the market, some of the best selections can be found in the homes of the craftsmen and women.
Lying in the lowlands east of Addis Ababa, and striding the Awash River, the Awash National Park is one of the finest reserves in Ethiopia. The Awash River, one of the major rivers of the Horn of Africa, waters important agricultural lands in the north- eastern part of Ethiopia and eventually flows into the wilderness of Danakil Depression. The dramatic Awash Falls as the river tumbles into its gorge is the site not to be missed in the national park. A special attraction is the beautiful clear pools of the hot springs (Filwoha). Awash National Park, surrounding the dormant volcano of Fantale, is a reserve of arid and semi-arid woodland and Savannah, with reverie forests along the Awash River. Forty-six species of animals have been identified here, including Beisa Oryx and Swayne's Hartebeest. The bird life is prolific especially along the river and in amongst the 392 species recorded.