Harar: Where The French Poet Once Lived In


The fascinating Harar’s old walled town, which locally known as Jegol pleads adventure. From one of the many sites of interest that Jegol (old walled town) encompasses; one really transports daredevil travelers graciously, to an era when a renowned French poet who once lived in this gem of Ethiopian city.


Harar is situated just off the southern edge of the Chercher Mountains. It is one of the astonishing cities of Ethiopia, that leave visitors breathless in wonder with its still standing centuries old walls, numerous alleyways squeezed into just 1 sq. km, mosques and shrines, revitalizing world class coffee, shambolic but vivacious markets, impressive architecture, charismatic people, distinctively traditional Harari house, unique lifestyle and of course with its an ethereal ritual takes place every night outside the walls –Men bravely feed the unpredictable creatures Hyenas that is.


Strolling through Jegol’s maze alleys is more like getting ecstatically lost in Harar’s enchanting olden days and of course drifting through another period. From my Harar odyssey, here is a particular virtual tour, through a museum that transports Harar’s visitors into a certain era – when a renowned French poet Arthur Rimbaud once lived in Harar, Ethiopia.


As history stated, travel bug brought Arthur Rimbaud to Ethiopia in 1876, where he became the first white man to travel into the Ogaden region of Southeastern Ethiopia, coffee trader and an arm dealer.


Legend hast it, while living in Ethiopia, Rimbaud wins the heart of the locals and even governor of Harar not only because of his genuine interest in Ethiopian culture and the people rather by his intimate connection to the country via living like as the locals in one of the houses in Harar.


At the heart of Jegol’s maze alleys, there is a divinely refurbished 100 years old mansion of an Indian merchant. The building is referred to locally as Rambo’s house and it is the house Rimbaud is said to have rented when he lived in Harar. Even though, it is still uncertain that whether Rimbaud ever rented the place, the one very truth that couldn’t be denied is that the poet did once live in an older house on the same location.


The buildings is restored with the help of the Italian and French embassies and now function as a mesmerizing museum dedicated to the poet, with a series of exemplified pieces about his life.


On the 1st floor, there is an incredible, awe-inspiring and a must-see, turn-of-the -20th-century black and white photographs of Harar. I must say it is simply an eccentric step back in time.


While walking up stairs to the rooftop , I couldn’t help noticing the wall which is embellished by one of the poets’ works translated and written in Amharic, English and in French of course as if he wrote them on a piece of paper … so enthralling and beautiful.


Now it’s time to see over Harar to the blue Chercher Mountains.


Hara must have bewitches Rimbaud as it still flabbergasts travelers.


Hara is veiled with a profound historical glow that will interest passionate culture explorers and this gem of a place is indeed…


Window of the PAST!

About Sara Genene

I am a traveler... on an endless journey of self-discovery!
This entry was posted in Addis Ababa, Adventure, Africa, Architecture, Art, culture, Ethiopia, Harar, Historical Travel, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Harar: Where The French Poet Once Lived In

  1. I never even knew Rimbaud spent time in Ethiopia!

    BTW, you inspired one of my posts, not sure if you saw… I realise my food pics don’t even come close to yours! But it was delicious nevertheless 🙂


  2. Hi Sara , incredible article ,beautiful pictures.Bravo for the efforts you put in this post.Best regards.jalal

  3. lorenwolf says:

    What an incredible journey you took me on.

  4. Tariku says:

    Chercher Mountains…now I know where Addis’ ‘Churchil Godana’ got its name from. LOL! Colorful pictures, woow the blue sky…great shots, Sara!

  5. Violet says:

    Once again I feel like I travelled and learned so much from you through your beautiful photos and descriptions. Thank you Sara! 🙂

  6. I love the way you frame shots with windows – and I also love the dramatic way you end the post. You show me both landscape and buildings, as if I’ve actually visited. Thank you.

  7. What a beautiful place! Those buildings are pretty amazing. Ethiopia (through your eyes) keeps blowing my expectations of what the country is like – very cool 😉 Harar is also the home of my second favourite coffee bean! Can’t wait to try it there one day…

  8. Finn Holding says:

    Wonderful post Sara. You have an amazing country and it’s a real pleasure to be guided around it by your pictures and descriptions. You’re opening it up to the world and it’s made me want to visit!

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