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Christian Market

A10, Harar, Ethiopia
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The Qat Line Harar  Ethiopia

The Qat Line

Commerce spills out of alleys and backstreets onto virtually every public space in and around Harar's medieval walled city (also known as Jugol). At the far end of the Christian Market, which is loosely centered around Showa Gate, there is a line of women doing a blistering trade in qat leaves.

Qat chewing is a longstanding tradition in the Horn of Africa. The leaves, when chewed, produce a mild stimulant effect. A friendly guy on a bus demonstrated for us that if you want to give qat a try, fold the leaf in half and pull the stem off.

To get to Harar, you can take a long bus ride (check with Selam Bus) or fly into Dire Dawa and then take a one-hour minibus ride, which costs between birr 40 and 60 ($2 - 3.50 US, depending on exchange rates and the whims of your bus driver).