Ethiopia is cradle of mankind and the oldest independent country in Africa. The earliest evidence of Ethiopian history was in around 1000BC when the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon. Unique among other African countries, Ethiopia is one of the world's most fascinating countries that offer all in one. It has rich history, amazing people with deep culture, towering mountains and breathtaking scenery, endemic mammals and birds, and unique natural sites like the Danakil depression.
Ethiopia is the tenth largest country in Africa with a surface area of 1,194,000 square kilometers (461,003 sq. miles). It lies in eastern Africa, between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer, in a region known as the Horn of Africa. Bordered by five countries, it is landlocked.
Facts about Ethiopia:-
- The Cradle of Mankind- the oldest hominid remains of Selam (3.3 million years), Lucy (3.18 million years), and Ardi ( 4.4 million years)
- It was home to the most ancient kingdom in Africa, one of the first monarchies in the world.
- It is the sole African country to possess an alphabet more than 2,000 years old.
- It is the only country in the continent to have maintained independence in the face of European colonizers.
- It still follows the Julian Calendar, 7 years and 8 month behind the Gregorian Calendar and it has 13- months - It has twelve lunar months of thirty days, plus one month of five or six days, depending on the leap year. It is in GMT+ 3 hours zone; days starting at sunrise; dawn being 12 AM, middy 6 PM, dusk 12 PM Ethiopian time.
- Ethiopians enjoy complete freedom of religion. However, two religions are professed by the great majority: Christianity & Islam. Religion has always been a major influence in Ethiopia. Certainly no country in sub-Saharan Africa can trace its origins as far back. Ethiopia is mentioned thirty-three times in the Bible and many times in the Qur’an.
- It is the resting place of the original Ark of Covenant.
- Ethiopia has been called “The Roof of Africa” for its most outstanding topographical feature: a huge central plateau, the Ethiopian Massif. Formed in the Tertiary era by volcanic activity, this great massif occupies more than half of the total surface area of the country, and has an average elevation of between 1,800 and 2, 400 meters (5,700- 7, 700 feet). Nine peaks rise above 4, 000 meters (12,800 feet) and eleven above 3,000 meters (9,600 feet). The highest peak is Called Ras Dashen, 4543 meters.
- It has been called the “water tower” of Northeast Africa. The combination of its high altitude, 14 large rivers (many of them international), numerous lakes and other sources of fresh water, has created an extensive natural irrigation system to various regions of the Horn.
- Ethiopia is a paradise for bird watchers. More than 800 different species have been counted, of which 21 are endemic, and 12 semi-endemic because they are shared with Eritrea.
- Ethiopia’s population is estimated around 99 million. Ethiopia is composed of about 83 ethnic groups with 200 dialects. Based on the language they speak, they can be divided into Semitic, Cushitic, Nilotic and Omotic stocks. The Semitic Languages are spoken in northern, central and eastern Ethiopia (mainly in Tigray, Amhara, Harar and northern part of the Southern Peoples' State regions). They use the Ge'ez script that is unique to the country, which consists of 33 letters, each of which denotes 7 characters, making a total of 231 characters.The Cushitic Languages are mostly spoken in central, southern and eastern Ethiopia (mainly in Afar, Oromia and Somali regions). The Cushitic Languages use the Roman alphabet and Ge'ez script.The Omotic Languages are predominantly spoken between the Lakes of southern Rift Valley and the Omo River.The Nilo-Saharan Languages are largely spoken in the western part of the country along the border with Sudan (mainly in Gambella and Benshangul regions).
- Ethiopia is the seat of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union (AU). At an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,000 ft) Addis Ababa is the third highest capital city in the world, after La Paz and Quito in South America. Its clear, invigorating highland air makes for a pleasant, temperate climate (average temperature 260 C (610 F), except for the main rainy season from July to September when it is cool and damp.
- The Cradle of Coffee Arebica.
- A country with three- in- one Tourism Commodities (Nature, culture, History and religious festivals) and it is the home of 10 UNESCO registered by UNESCO as world Heritage sites and cultural activities.
- The northern part of the country is served by scheduled and regular flights which make travel to Ethiopia as short and less tiresome as possible.
- Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s largest sheet of water covering 3,600 sq. Kilometers (1,389 Sq. miles) forms the headwaters of the Blue Nile, or Abbay as it is known in Ethiopia, the longest river in the world.
- The people in the country are very friendly, polite, and helpful. This enables tourists develop confidence to visit the destination.
- Throughout most of the country there are two seasons: the dry season prevails from October through May; the wet season runs from June to September. Temperate in the highlands; hot in the lowlands.
- The climate of Ethiopia is not uniform due to the altitude of its large central plateau winds blowing in from the Indian Ocean which created great diversity in climatic zones. In general, the Ethiopian climatic zones are divided into five depending on the altitude & rainfall. These are:
- Wurch: altitude above 3,200 meters
- Dega: between 2,300 – 3,200 meters
- Weina Dega: between 1,500 – 2,300 meters
- Kola: 500 – 1500 meters
- Bereha: below 500 meters