Ethiopia is truly a land of contrasts and extremes; a land of remote and wild places. Some of the highest and most stunning places on the African continent are found here, such as the jaggedly carved Simien Mountains, one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites – and some of the lowest, such as the hot but fascinating Danakil Depression, with its sulphur fumaroles and lunar-like landscape.
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The welcome that comes from the mosaic of a people with over 83 different languages and as many cultures is warm and spontaneous.
The attractions of Ethiopia are of world renown, and the development of the Country as the foremost tourist destination in North East Africa has opened up Ethiopia to a new generation of tourists, to whom a visit to the land of the Queen of Sheba, the birthplace of the Blue Nile and the ‘cradle of mankind’ was previously just a dream.
That Ethiopia has a heritage from the beginnings of mankind was underlined when the remains of ‘Lucy’, dated from 3.2 million years ago, and the 4.4 million year old Homo ramidus afarensis, man’s oldest anthropoid ancestor, were uncovered. Traders from Greece, Rome, Persia and Egypt knew of the riches of what is now Ethiopia, and by the first century AD, Axum was the capital of a great empire. This realm became one of the first Christian lands of Africa. Late in the 10th century Axum declined and a new Zagwe dynasty, centered in what is now Lalibela, ruled the land. Axum, Lalibella and Gondar now provide our greatest historical legacy. It was in the 16th century that the son of the great explorer Vasco da Gama came to Ethiopia, but then found a land of many kingdoms and provinces beset feuds and wars.
In the l9th century the great Emperor Menelik led us towards the modern state of Ethiopia, and the Country’s passage to modernization began.
Ethiopia is also a land of natural contrasts, from the tops of the rugged Simien Mountains (4543m) to the depths of the Danakil Depression which, at 116 meters below sea level, is one of the lowest dry land points on earth. The cornucopia of natural beauty that blesses Ethiopia offers an astonishing variety of landscapes: Afro-Alpine highlands soaring to around 4300 meters, deserts sprinkled with salt flats and yellow sulphur, lake lands with rare and beautiful birds, moors and mountains, the splendor of the Great Rift Valley, white-water rivers, savannah teeming with game, giant waterfalls, dense and lush jungle… the list is endless.
CULTURE OF ETHIOPIA
With over 83 different peoples, the cultures of our communities are prominent in our lifestyle. With traditions going back to the days of Axum, and a strong religious setting, celebrations and festivals play an important part in our daily lives.The major religions in the country are Christianity and Islam, which are co-existed for the centuries.
Our greatest festival is Timket (Epiphany), where tourists are welcome to celebrate with us. But other festivals such as Enkutatash (the Ethiopian New Year, in September after the rains), Maskal, Gena (Christmas), Id and Easter are all glorious celebrations.
Remember, when checking any dates, that Ethiopia still retains the Julian calendar, and we are unique in having thirteen months. Our traditional calendar remains almost eight years behind the Gregorian calendar of the West.
Ethiopian economy is predominantly an agricultural, where agriculture accounts the majority exports and employments. The main exports are Coffee, Flowers , oilseeds ,Chat, pulses, hides and skins.