Ethiopia

The short history of The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, formerly known as Abyssinia is located in the northeast of Africa, in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia covers an area of 1.19 million Sq km and shares borders with Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan and Kenya.

Ethiopia’s ancient historical landmarks and antiquities with its numerous ethnic groups and diverse cultures and traditions, its breathtaking landscape, magnificent crater lakes, and the Great Rift valley system with its lined lakes characterized by fabulous aquatic life, together with its numerous National parks with their stunning views, makes Ethiopia a three-in-one destination.

Ethiopia is old beyond imagination; the origin of Ethiopia is largely the origin of us all. More than 3 million years ago one of our first hominid ancestors walked that portion of the earth which is now Ethiopia's spectacular Afar Depression. Scientists have named her Lucy but Ethiopians call her Dinkensh meaning “Thou Art wonderful”.

Ethiopia is 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, lakes 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.

Ethiopia is also known as ‘The Roof’ and ‘The Water Tower’ of East Africa, because of its high altitude and its great rivers that flow towards the neighboring countries, including the origins of the Blue Nile.Ethiopia is one of the ancient countries of the world. Its history and culture goes back 3000 years. Its legendry history starts with the mythical Queen of Sheba who, after a visit to the biblical King Salomon in Jerusalem, gave birth to his son Menelik I, the latter king of the pre Axumite Empire. [According to legend?] He took the Ark of the Covenant from Jerusalem to Ethiopia, where it is believed to rest until now.

Throughout its long history, Ethiopia has had incomparable art and antiquities - the Ancient town of Axum with its amazing carved obelisks, Christian festivals and relics including the Ark of the Covenant; Lalibela with its extraordinary rock hewn churches; Gondar with its castles and Medieval Churches; the Monasteries of Lake Tana with their amazing mural paintings and relics; the Ancient rock hewn churches of Tigray and the walled Muslim city of Harar, plus so many more.

Ethiopia is also a mosaic of diverse cultures. Currently it has a population of more than 82.5 million people, from four different linguistic families, speaking over 80 languages with 200 dialects, a melting pot of diverse customs and cultures, some of which are extremely ancient.
Ethiopia is the only country in Africa to posses its own alphabet and Calendar. The Ethiopian calendar follows the Julian calendar being 7 years and 8 months behind the Gregorian calendar.

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