Ethiopia in a Glimpse
With an area of above 1.1 million square kilometers, Ethiopia is located at 3 to 15 degree north and 33 to 48 degree east. Its populations are approximately 100 million. Ethiopia is the earliest known home of human kind. The discovery of Lucy’s Australopithecus Afaransis 3.2.million-year old remains founded in 1974 was a milestone in positioning the country as a premier location for paleo anthropological research. The United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) registered the Lower Awash Anthropological site, where Lucy was found as a world heritage. The other discovery is Ardipithecus Ramidos- a 4.4 million year old hominid fossils.
The country is endowed with vast array of historical, natural and cultural tourist attractions. To mention some, Axum was the capital of one of the most glorious Empires of the ancient world dating back to the 1st Century A.D. Once the seat of the Queens of Sheba; Axumis the site of the famous Stella.
Lalibella is famous for its 11 Rock-Hewn Churches built in the 12 century. These churches are hewn out of a living rock. Of all the churches, Bete Giorgis is famous for its architectural perfection.
Axum, Lalibella and Gondar are world heritage sites. Bahirdar is located in the southern shores of Lake Tana, the largest lake covering an area of 3600sq.kms. There are 37 islands housing 20 churches and monasteries. Ura Kidanemihret, famous for its paintings, is a monastery that is open for both men and women to visit. Its proximity to Bahirdar makes to be accessed easily by boat trip. These destinations including Bahirdar are located in what is popularly known as the Historic Route.
Located 525 kilometers east of Addis Ababa,travelers find the ancient walled city of Harar with its 5 gates. Known for its handicrafts, basketry and colorful market, Harar won fame for its being a symbol of peace co-existence of different religions;it is registered by UNESCO as world heritage site.
Ethiopia is one of the most physically and biologically diverse countries in the world. Out of 861 species of birds 16 rare found only in Ethiopia. Of 277 species of mammals, 31 larger and smaller size mammals are endemic.
The Danakil Depression is one of earth’s hottest places with many points at little more than 120 meters below sea level. Dallol is lunar type of landscape, while Ertale is lake of volcano.
Ethiopia is a mosaic of people, with more than 801 languages, different lifestyle, costumes and cultural dances. The Lower Omo Valley in Southern Ethiopia is known as the oldest human occupied landscape confirmed by the Paleo-Archaeological findings. It is an area where the first humans were living and registered as a world heritage sites in 1980. This destination offers a great opportunity for visitors who are interested to see the diverse cultures.
The country also offers a lot in terms of outdoor activities. It mountain and terrain are the best for trekking, bird watching, paragliding and the like. Also rivers like Blue Nile, Awash and Omo are preferred for rafting.
Ethiopia has a number of colorful festivals that attract and entertain tourists throughout the year. Starting with September, which is the time of the Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash) that falls in Meskerm 1 or September 11. The most interesting of the country’s religious festivals are Axum Tsion, Kulubi Gebreil, Sheik Hussin, Gishen Mariam and Sof Omar. Huge crows arrive to pray for their health, for a new baby to be born, for a special favor, for a good harvest r to give thanks to God for wishes already fulfilled. Some more festivals which attract thousands of pilgrims and visitors include; Ashenda(from August 21-23 every year), Meskel(the finding of the true cross on September 27), Irecha(Oromo People thanks giving day celebrated around Lake Hora, Bishoftu), Ethiopian Christmas(Genna on January 7), Timket(Epiphany) celebration(January 19) and Ethiopian Esater.
Muharram Islamic new year colorfully celebrated at Negash and Harar:SheSheik Hussen shrine andat the end of Ramadan, the festival of Idd-Ul-Fitr is celebrated. Other major Islamic festivals are Molid-Ul-Nabi (Birthday of Prophet Mohammed) and Eid-ul-Adha (end of Haji, the pilgrimage of Makkah).
Ethiopia is also the birth place of Coffee. It is originated in south western parts of Ethiopia in a place called ‘Kaffa’. Ethiopian coffees are known for their complexity with a pungent, winey quality and distinct wildness in their acidity satisfying the varied tastes of consumers at home and throughout the world.