Travel Destination EthiopiaPublished: 02/03/2014
Ethiopia, located in the Horn of Africa, is bordered by Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Kenya. It is the most highly populated landlocked country in the world. The capital is Addis Ababa.
Being one of the oldest locations of human life known to scientists, Ethiopia is considered as the region from where Homo sapiens first set out for the Middle East and other areas beyond. It’s roots date back as far as the 2nd millennium BC. The Kingdom of Aksum was one of the great world powers of the 3rd Century alongside Rome, Persia, China and India. Ethiopia was the only country to defeat a European colonial power and retain its independence as a country.
Ethiopia is a multilingual region with about 80 ethnic groups, the two largest ones being the Oromo and the Amhara and the majority of the population are Christian with about a third being Muslim. It is historically recorded as the oldest Muslim settlement in Africa (Negash). A large population of Ethiopian Jews, known as Beta Israel, resided in Ethiopia until the 1980s but most of them have since gradually emigrated to Israel. Ethiopia is also the spiritual homeland of the Rastafari movement, which gloalised its flag colours worldwide via pop culture and Reggae music.
The land boasts vast fertility, jungles, numerous rivers, continuous mountain ranges and caves. The great diversity of terrain determines wide variations in climate, soils, natural vegetation, and patterns of settlements. The dominating climate type is tropical monsoon. Addis Ababa experiences a healthy and pleasant climate all year around with fairly uniform temperatures. The seasons are largely defined by rainfall with a dry season from October to February and a light rainy season from March to May. Heavy rainfall is experienced from June to September. There is an average of seven hours of sunshine per day
Ethiopia is a centre of avian diversity, globally. It has, to date, more than 856 recorded bird species, 20 of which are endemic to the country. On the endangered or critically endangered lists are 16 species. A 17-year-long civil war and severe drought have negatively impacted Ethiopia's environmental conditions, leading to even greater habitat degradation and because habitat destruction is a factor that leads to endangerment and the speed with which these changes have occurred translating into animals not having enough time to adjust, wildlife populations have been rapidly declining.
Ethiopia’s ancient Ge’ez script, which is also known as Ethiopic, is one of the oldest alphabets still in use in the world.
Ethiopia is the origin of the coffee bean. ‘Injera’, which is a pancake-like bread, and ‘wat’ (stew) make up the staple diets of Ethiopians. It is customary to share your dinner from a communal bowl in the middle of the table and use your injera to scoop up the stew instead of utensils. It is also common to feed other people in your group with your own hands – this is a tradition referred to as ‘gursha’. Traditional Ethiopian cuisine includes neither pork nor shellfish of any kind, as they are forbidden in the Islamic, Jewish, and Ethiopian Orthodox Christian faiths.
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