|Once a symbol of oppresion|
We have all seen this gate before but any idea what the story behind it is?
Let's rewind 130+ years from now....
After the Egyptians took control over Harar, Amir Abdullaahi overcame their rule and retook the throne to the city.
Menelik II, seeing this as a golden opportunity sent a letter to Amir Abdullahi ordering him to surrender the city and pay taxes to the Abyssinian Empire. Amir Abdullah a young man at the time but bold refused.
So the Abyssinian and the Harari army set out for war. 700 Harari newly-weds were martyred and the army was beaten surrendering the city.
Upon the arrival of Menelik to the city's walls, the elders of Harar gathered with Ali Abobekri (Amir Abdullahi's uncle) as their leader to meet with Menelik outside the city's gates. They came to an understanding and negotiated a few important issues.
Menelik then destroyed a section of Harar's wall and called it Harar ber (picture above). He then constructed a road leading from the gate to the city's centre and called it Andegna Menged, which translates to "the first road"; as if all the roads before it were insignificant. The smaller of the two mosques found in feras magala (the city's centre) was then converted into a Orthodox church (which exists until today). _________________________________________________
Even though they lost the war we haven't lost the battle. Our ancestors fought to carry on the culture through their songs, clothing and symbolism.
The gate, a symbol of our oppression was turned into a memorial when a picture of the late Amir the last king of Harar was placed on the gates centre with its background painted a dark red; the colour of chelenqo, symbolizing the blood of the 700 Harari men spilled on that day.
#harar #forgottenhistory #harari #harargates