Hassan Fat’hy arguing for the nobility and wisdom

vernacular architecture in the face of imported models that are alien to Islamic society

In the Islamic and Arabic world, we find great architects such as: Hassan Fat’hyis arguing for the nobility and wisdom of vernacular architecture in the face of…

View Post

Red Fort -beautiful buildings

Red Fort (Photo credit: Deivis)

English: Diwan-i Khas, Red Fort, Delhi, India Español: Diwan-i…

View Post

oldest Islamic cities in Africa

Harar is one of the oldest Islamic cities in Africa, and considered as the fourth holiest city in Islam, based on the fact of King Negus of Abyssinia welcomed and protected the followers of Prophet Mohamed during their migration to Abyssinia. This has made a strong impact in the history and culture of Harar for centuries to come. Indeed, the way the city planned and developed, and the styles of its mosques, shrines and traditional dwellings indicate that Harar has a special traditional Islamic heritage and way of life, which is still preserved and practiced. The structure of the city with its central heart (Jugol) and commercial and religious buildings reflect the traditional Islamic architecture of the city. It is a cultural product and a distinctive way to show demographic changes although people of Harar stick to their religious identity till today.
Harar is also one of the largest historical cities in Africa, dating back to the tenth century AD, when forty four Muslims arrived Harar calling for Islam. One of these men was Sheikh Abadir, who was considered the founder of the city, which was established to be a major center of trade. The city was an important scientific and commercial center in North Africa, and scientists and students used to come from all over the world and East Africa. Some sources also suggest that the establishment of historic Harar goes back to the seventh century AD, when Arab groups have migrated from Hadhramaut, Yemen
Harar features an unprecedented pattern of architecture reflecting the impact of Islamic culture and African traditions, which together give the city a distinct character. This has helped it to withstand the forces of change over time. However, the city’s ability to keep conservatively has come under doubt because of the winds of rampant globalization, and like other historic cities, Harar will lose its identity unless it maintained. As previously noted, the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has reported several changes that threaten the architectural character of the area
The social life in Harar leans on two systems. First, is religious, so-called “Afusha” which are strong social systems CCIA’2008 3
at the level of neighborhoods where nine people from the neighborhood (historic center consisting of five neighborhoods) manage the daily life of residents such as way rights, marriages and funerals, etc. Each individual financially contributes through a social system adds to social solidarity among the population through cooperation and respect for the traditions of society life and religion. The second system is regulatory or administrative called “Kabeil”, which, as a word, might have come from the Arabic, word “Kabela”, meaning a tribe. This system divides the city into seven administrative units or Kabeils, each has a team of elected eight members. The task of these members is to maintain order and respect of law and collect rents of state-owned dwellings. The ” Kabeil” is the link between the citizens and the state. Also, it provides health care, building permits, and legal advice. The “Kabeil” operates and cooperates in some matters related to the establishment and maintenance of public spaces

The fortified historic town of Harar

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, but the townhouses with their exceptional interior design constitute the most spectacular part of Harar’s cultural heritage. The impact of African and Islamic traditions on the development of the town’s building types and urban layout make for its particular character and uniqueness.
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.
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.
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