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Preservation of Architectural & Urban Heritage of Harar, Ethiopia


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This is a presentation of a paper delivered at VI SIPAU Conference, Havana, Cuba, 3 Nov- 3 Dec. 2010, by Hisham Mortada. It explores a proposed master plan to preserve the architectural and urban heritage of Harar, Ethiopia, submitted to Harar Presidency in 2009. Parts of the proposals have been realised by the World Bank in 2011.

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Preservation of Architectural & Urban Heritage of Harar, Ethiopia

  1. 1. Preservation of Urban and Architectural Heritage of Harar, Ethiopia Hisham Mortada, Ph.D., AIA Dept of Architecture King Abdul Aziz University Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  2. 2. CONCEPT OF HERITAGE Heritage is the memory of nation, including its events, which have been historically affected by economic, social, cultural, spatial, and constructional conditions that form the cultural elements of the man and civilization including changes.It
  3. 3. CONCEPT OF HERITAGE Heritage could be divided into two types: Immaterial heritage: It is everything that is linked to community intellectual, spiritual and social life, and has no material base. Examples of this heritage are poetry, singing, music, dialects, names and terms of significance, and other codes of identity. Material heritage: It is everything linked to community life and has
  4. 4. CONCEPT OF HERITAGE PRESERVATION •The concept of preserving and restoring heritage element is determined by the acts of protecting it as artistic works and historic witnesses. •Its maintenance must be subject to the principles and standards set up by the UNESCO, either repair or employment within the surrounded urban fabric.
  5. 5. PRESERVATION OF HERITAGE SITES •Aim: To develop and protect the heritage areas, and working working on their survival and confirmation of their character with the social and cultural personality of the community. •Methodologies: •Rehabilitation •Restoration •Conservation •Re-utilization •Re-construction •Maintenance
  7. 7. HARAR: HISTORY •One of the largest historical cities in Africa, dating back to the 10th century AD. •The oldest Islamic city 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.
  8. 8. HARAR: URBAN FEATURES •The way the city planned and developed, and the styles of its mosques, shrines and traditional dwellings indicate Harar’s special traditional Islamic heritage and way of life, which is still preserved and practiced. •Its urban pattern and architecture reflect the impact of Islamic culture and African traditions, which together give the city a distinct character. •UNISCO has enlisted Harar
  9. 9. •Jugol, the heart of Harar, is a cultural product that reflects people’s affirmation to their religious identity. •The International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has reported several changes that threaten the architectural character of Harar. HARAR: URBAN FEATURES Jugol, organic urban form Harar City
  10. 10. HARAR: URBAN FEATURES City wall and gates
  11. 11. HARAR: URBAN FEATURES Narrow zigzagged allies and limited open spaces
  12. 12. HARAR: URBAN FEATURES Commercial activities at major and minor streets and gates
  13. 13. HARAR: URBAN FEATURES Italian Market
  14. 14. Mosques are the historical heart of Harar. Out of the 99 mosques, 82 are inside Jugol. HARAR: ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES
  15. 15. a. Traditional Mosque: It consists of two prayer spaces and a yard divided into two parts, one is a transition zone at the entrance to the mosque, and the other is for prayers when the indoor is crowded. •A small garden may exist for the cultivation of treatment plants. •Minarets vary in shape. HARAR: ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES Mahad Sai Mosque, 18th
  16. 16. b. Public Mosque: It is for Friday prayers. Five of them are inside Jugol, each within a neighborhood. Slightly different from the traditional as the area of prayer is larger. HARAR: ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES
  17. 17. c. Small Mosque: It contains one or more tombs, and has a shrine of one or more of the imams (prayer leaders), muezzins (prayer callers), or a person believed to be "Awlia" or saints. The mosque is revived every year in memory or celebrations. HARAR: ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES Small mosque: Sayid Abrahim Ahmed Mosque, Harar
  18. 18. Houses There are 5115 houses within Jugol, the bulk of the architectural heritage of Harar. a. The Traditional House A rectangle containing three rooms on the ground floor and a room upstairs in addition to the services area (bathrooms and kitchen) that are open toward the patio, the living room of the house. HARAR: ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES Mahdi Adous’s house, a traditional house
  19. 19. b. Indian House •Indian traders brought this style in 1887. •Most of these houses were built in the highest areas of Harar, dominating the city skyline. Currently, there are about 12 houses of this type. •A house of this type consists of a simple rectangle of two floors characterized by a covered wooden porch in the first floor facing the HARAR: ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES Rimbaud house, early twentieth century
  20. 20. HARAR: ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES Ras Tafari’s house, an example of Indian house
  21. 21. HARAR: ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES Ras Tafari’s house
  22. 22. c. Mixed House •It is the popular type. •It combines traditional housing with later additions of the Indian style on the first or second floor. •Access to the added rooms is through a wooden corridor opens to the courtyard or street. •The upper floor has the same pattern of distribution of rooms that are accessed via an external wooden corridor through a wooden ladder. •The mixed house does not have the same degree of architectural quality of the original house. HARAR: ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES
  23. 23. HARAR: ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES Khadija Ahmed’s house, an example of mixed house type
  24. 24. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Current statusPopulation Soci al Econom ic Environment al Rapid growth, high population density (700 inhabitant per hectare), lack of infrastructure. Serious refuse problems. Poor management of solid and waste water. Polluted rivers. Littered & deteriorated public spaces. Health problems. Hararis, Oromos and the Ahmarinyas Neighborhood communities (afochas) - maintains social cohesion. Insufficient income for upkeep Critical state of conservation due to lack of financial resources. Organization al Seven elected administrative urban units (kebeles).
  25. 25. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE The Urban Structure Elliptic form, 1600 by 800 m. Rampant, five historic gates, and a recent one. Inner city had no significant change. 2 Distinct poles: Faras Magala Gidir Magala The triangle constitutes the city center. Physical Properties
  26. 26. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Street structure:The east-west street: Is the only straight street Links Jugol to the west Allowed automobiles into the center, Created new activities. Reinforced Faras Magala square It is incorrectly believed that it reinforced city’s bi-polarity. Physical Properties
  27. 27. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Main streets run from gates toward the two centers. A complex network of secondary streets, alleys, an dead end streets that form irregular and spontaneous urban tissue cover the rest of the city. Approximately one third of the houses are served by dead end streets, distancing the houses from main streets and public realm. Accessibility is weak, Lack of access roads. Street structure: Physical Properties
  28. 28. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Neighborhoods : Jugol is divided into 5 neighborhoods. Each is subdivided into smaller clusters, grouped around a mosque. They have similar morphology. The gates and main streets are the only items that distinguish each of the neighborhoods. The new market is at the intersection point of 4 of the neighborhoods, demonstrating its central role within the city. Physical Properties
  29. 29. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE A concentration of commercial activities around the poles and the straight street. The south-eastern zone is relatively deprived of commercial activities. Gaps in the grid of the secondary markets. The center is moving towards west. the historical markets (markets of the entries and the market Gidir Magala) are declining, as two third of the shops are closing down. Land Uses, Commercial Physical Properties
  30. 30. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Challenges: Isolation: Jugol location at the eastern most part of Harar as well as the surrounding rampant contributed to it’s isolation.
  31. 31. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Challenges: Accessibility Jugol is only connected to the rest of Harar via one street.
  32. 32. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Challenges: Poverty Prosperous residents moved away,. Poor people moved in. Together contributed to Jugol’s poverty.
  33. 33. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Challenges: Decline Jugol isolation and poor accessibility discourages investment in the area. Prosperous residents moved away, poor people moved in. The outcome: Jugol is in danger of declination.
  34. 34. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Existing locations Land uses: Administrative
  35. 35. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Suitable locations Locations with similar accessibility values. Land uses: Administrative
  36. 36. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Existing locations Land uses: Commercial
  37. 37. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Suitable locations for global commercial activities. Land uses: Commercial
  38. 38. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Suitable locations for local commercial activities 1580m Land uses: Commercial
  39. 39. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Existing educational facilities (no distinction between public and private facilities), concentrated at the north-eastern quarter. Land uses: Educational
  40. 40. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Suitable locations Land uses: Educational
  42. 42. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Local Scale - Proposed:
  43. 43. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Local Scale - Proposed:
  45. 45. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Ground floor - Existing
  46. 46. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE Ground floor - Proposed
  47. 47. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE First floor - Existing
  48. 48. CONSERVATION OF JUGOL HERITAGE First floor – Proposal (1)
  50. 50. Thank you for listening!