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Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
  
1 August 2014
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2007, a child greets visitors to the ancient Muslim city of Harar in Ethiopia. (photo: Cody Christopulos)

In 2007, we paid a visit to a remarkable corner of Ethiopia:

Imagine our surprise when, as we approached the outer walls of this, one of the holiest cities in the Islamic world, we were greeted by a booming call to prayer — from an Orthodox church. Famously, there are more than 90 mosques and shrines in this walled city, which occupies an area less than a square mile. But there are churches, too. …

For much of its history, Harar was a world center of commerce and Islamic culture. Though eclipsed on the world stage long ago, Harar remains a vibrant, multicultural city.

Christianity came to Ethiopia early: In the year 330 — 29 years after Armenia, and some 60 years before Rome — the Ethiopian king of Aksum declared Christianity the official religion of the state. Ethiopia’s distinctive form of Christianity, particularly its links with Judaism, has helped forge a unique culture that has survived intact for more than 1,800 years.

Read more about Ethiopia’s Forbidden City in the July 2007 edition of ONE.



Tags: Ethiopia Cultural Identity Christian-Muslim relations Islam Ethiopian Christianity