May I please ask you a question? What comes first to your mind when you hear the name Ethiopia (if you ever heard of it before)? Let me guess, drought, war, something like that? I understand that as it indeed happened in the country’s past even though it is totally different today.

Any other thing do you know about Ethiopia? I want to share you things you might want to know.

1. Ethiopia is the birth place of mankind.

That is what science tells and the evidences show. From the oldest to the recent archeological findings of hominids, Ethiopia hosts the most complete and important fossils.

The lower Awash and lower Omo valleys are the notable sites for anthropologists. The 2.8 million years old Lucy in this regard is the most famous one for the most complete parts though there others such as Ardi older than her.

Even the most recent fossil of homo-sapiens dating back to 200,000 years, is unearthed in Lalibela church viewEthiopia. You learn a lot about these archeological findings if you can visit Addis Ababa National Museum.

2. Ethiopia has the largest number of world heritage sites in Africa.

Ethiopia is a country, 9 of its sites are listed in the world heritage sites by UNESCO that has stand it out of Africa’s 50+ nations.

The recently added Konso landscape has raised the total number to nine.

Those in the list are, Aksum stale park, Lalibela rock churches, Gonder castles, Tiya stales, Lower Omo valley, Lower Awash, the ancient walled city of Harer – Jugol, the Simien mountains and Konso landscapes.

3. Ethiopia is a place where coffee is discovered.

This is interesting stuff to learn. Coffee is believed to be originally found in Ethiopia in a beans coffee place called Kaffa at the south western part.

Ethiopia is still the largest coffee producer in Africa and among the top five in the world.

The country produces best quality coffee known as Coffee Arabica. There are about 5 brands of coffee arabica that are grown in different parts of the country.

Coffee also contributes the largest share for the Ethiopian economy being the one of the major export items.

If you are in Ethiopia you should not miss the coffee ceremony an Ethiopian style and so impressive one. A typical coffee ceremony could take an hour and half that you even won’t how the time goes by.

4. Ethiopia is the first country to be mentioned in the Bible.

Do you have a bible? You will find Ethiopia just in the second chapter of the Book of Genesis before any other country in the world. Ethiopia is mentioned in the bible more than 60 times that gives the country a prominent place in world history and Christianity.

You can find a huge influence of Christianity whether in the ancient or modern Ethiopia. It is a country where thousands of churches are found throughout and believed to keep the arc of the covenant. It also has the largest number of religious iconography in the world.

Churches will be the highlight of your visit especially in the historic route of northern Ethiopia.

5. The largest rock church and the tallest stale are found in Ethiopia.

Axum standing obeliskIt is in Ethiopia that you find the tallest stale made out of a single stone.

This was built 2,000 years ago and you can see many of them surviving millenniums and still standing in Aksum.

Also you will find the world class and spectacular rock churches of Lalibela (believed to be the eighth wonder of the world) in northern Ethiopia.

There are 11 of them in which Bet Medhanialem is the largest rock hewn church in the world.

Lalibela churches were built in the 13 century and they are still active centers of worship.

6. The only country in Africa never to be colonized thus maintained its history and culture.

Do you know that Ethiopia is the only country in Africa that had never been colonized? It has endured a long history of war including during the five year occupation of Italy but has never knelt down for foreign aggressors.

This has made the country be able to keep and retain its history and culture. Ethiopia is a country of proud people who are never ashamed of telling you about their history. You will still find an authentic culture in most parts of the country.

7. Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa is the 3rd highest in the world.

Addis Ababa is a busy city situated at 2500mt above sea level. Its importance is not only Addis Ababa View  for the country but also for the whole of African continent.

It is where the head quarter of the African Union (the oldest continental organization in the world) is situated. There are also hundreds of other regional and international organizations.

Addis Ababa is the third highest capital in the world. A busy growing city with a population of 4 million residents of all sorts of ethnic groups.

The city’s name means new flower, a name given to it when it was founded some 120 years ago by Emperor Menelik and his wife Empress Taitu.

8. Ethiopia is comprised of more than 80 ethnic groups, 200 different dialects, its own time and calendar.

Ethiopian people are comprised of the Semitic, Cushitic, Omotic and Nilo-Saharan groups. Ethiopia is a diversified nation even though what you mostly see is the same light brown colors.

More than 80 ethnic groups all of them with their own languages and more than 200 different dialects found in the country.

Ethiopia is has its own alphabets, a 12 months plus 6 extra days calendar (New Year begins on September 11 and the year 7 years behind the European calendar).

The day time is uniformly divided into 12 hrs of daylight and 12 hrs of night which you start 1 O’clock at the 7am European time and 12 Oo’clock at the 6pm European time. Confusing right?

9. Ethiopia is a country where the three most influential religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam meet.

Ethiopia is the first country in the west after Armenia to adopt Christianity and the place in which Koran gives the highest regard for its hospitality for the first Islam refugees.

The country has also a small portion of Jews (believed to be one of the lost tribes of Israel) most of them now are taken to Israel.

10. Ethiopia is a country of dramatic scenery.

Danakil EthiopiaEthiopia is a country where The Great Rift Valley, the largest valley in the world that bisects it and even visible from the space is found.

It is also a country where one of the lowest points on earth – The Danakil Depression 125mt below sea level is found. It is a country where Africa’s largest Afro alpine habitat found – The Bale Mountains.

You will love the country for its dramatic and changing topography ranging from 4500mts above sea level to 125mts below sea level.

I don’t think you have any reason not to visit Ethiopia. Why not witness the above for yourself?

Eskinder Hailu - Manager, Highway Tours

Eskinder Hailu
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