Ethiopia: The Land of Origins

If there is a country on the African continent whose cultural diversity, natural beauty and rich heritage matches that of the glorious history of Egypt, it is certainly Ethiopia whose past dates back to biblical times. Formerly called Abyssinia, Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world, and was never colonized. After a 5-year occupation (1936-41), she successfully repelled the Italians Fascists to remain one of the world’s oldest independent states. Ethiopia a founding member of the UN.

While there is variation caused by the topographical difference, the dominant climate is classified as tropical monsoon. Most of the major cities are at a relatively high altitude, and the country is notable for producing world and Olympic record holders, like Haile Gebrselassie, Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba and Meseret Defar, in long-distance races.

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Ethiopia offers tourists an exciting mélange of attractions ranging such as ancient landmarks and archeological remains like the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, castles of Gondar and the monasteries around and on the islands of Lake Tana. There are interesting cultural display such as Surma, which is a stick-fighting event, or the feeding of hyenas in the evening by the hyena-men in Harar.

Ethiopia is an ancient country whose unique cultural heritage, rich history, and remarkable biodiversity are reflected in a tally of nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites – more than any other country in Africa. Within its borders, you’ll find the world’s fourth-holiest Islamic city, along with the oldest continuously occupied town south of the Sahara. Compelling antiquities include the medieval rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and Gheralta, ruined palaces and temples dating back 3,000 years, the magnificent 17th-century castles of Gondar, and the oldest human fossils unearthed anywhere on the planet. Add to this the beautiful Simien and the Bale Mountains, the spectacular volcanic landscapes of the Danakil Depression, and a wealth of mammals and birds found nowhere else in the world, and it’s little wonder that Ethiopia has become the most attractive and popular emergent tourist destination in Africa.

Ethiopia’s fascinating and enigmatic recorded history stretches back 3,000 years to the reign of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon.

Ethiopia’s rich biodiversity is reflected in varied flora and fauna embracing more than 50 endemic species of mammals and birds, ranging from the iconic Ethiopian wolf to the spectacular Raspoli’s turaco.

A unique musical heritage and cuisine, together with ancient coffee culture and thriving arts and crafts scene, ensure that the Ethiopian lifestyle has much to offer curious visitors.

For more on Ethiopia, please click here.

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