Highlights of Ethiopia: The Ark of Africa

Venture off the beaten path and explore one of the world’s most fascinating and least visited destinations.  With medieval castles, churches hewn out of solid rock, ancient temples, and nine UNESCO World Heritage sites (more than any other African country) Ethiopia is the perfect holiday and tour destination for the adventurous traveler.  One of the oldest nations in the world and never colonized, archeologists have made discoveries in Ethiopia that date back to the origins of humankind.  This amazing country should be on the “bucket list” of anyone wanting to broaden their horizons!

Lalibela, the Mysterious Wonder

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Situated in the highlands about 700 kilometers north of Addis Ababa, the magnificent rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are not to be missed. This group of eleven monolithic and semi-monolithic structures was carved directly into the stone of the mountainside at least 800 years ago.  …

Gondar, the City of Castles

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At the heart of present-day Gondar, just north of Lake Tana, sits the Royal Enclosure with its five castles built by a succession of Ethiopian kings beginning in the early 17th century. Having survived several wars, including air raids during World War Two, the castles are a testament to the resilience of this once mighty African Empire. …

The Omo Valley of Ethiopia

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The Omo River Valley in southern Ethiopia is undoubtedly one of the most unique regions in the world.  Within this small geographic area reside at least 30 distinct ethno-linguistic groups, whose lifestyles surely do not vary much from those of their ancestors thousands of years ago.  …

Afar and the Danakil Depression

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With more than 30 active and dormant volcanoes, the Danakil Depression is a geological marvel. In stark contrast to the cool, temperate Ethiopian highlands, it is one of the lowest, driest, and hottest places on earth. It boasts records including the hottest average annual temperature (48º C/118º F in the dry season) and lowest point (155m/509 ft below sea level) on the African continent. …

Axum, Heart of an Ancient Empire

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Like the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, the ancient city of Axum is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Once the hub of a great civilization that spread from East Africa, across the Red Sea, and into the Arabian Peninsula, Axum is home to some of the most significant archeological findings on the entire continent.  …

Natural Wonders and Outdoor Adventures

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With a landscape that ranges from rainforests, to grassy savannas, mountains, and deserts, Ethiopia boasts scenery that is as diverse and fascinating as its people.  Splitting the country in two, the Great Rift Valley provides breath-taking views that rival those of the Grand Canyon.  …

Harar, the Medeviel City

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Harar, with its 16th century walled "old city" of Jugal, is quite distinct from Ethiopia's other historical sites with their strong connections to Orthodox Christianity.  While Christianity was introduced and accepted by the nation of Ethiopia very early (only Armenia's conversion precedes it), Islam also arrived at the outskirts of the Ethiopian Empire not long after Mohammed felt called to spread his faith on the nearby Arabian Peninsula.  

Ethiopia’s Diverse Cultures

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The major ethnic groups are the Oromo, predominantly in the south, the Amhara and Tigrai from the central and northern highlands, the Somali, the Sidamo, the Gurage, and numerous smaller groups.  An Amhara, a nomadic Afar, a Mursi of the southern people, or a Gambella, all are very much Ethiopian, but each ethnic group is quite distinct in appearance, language, and culture.  …

Ethiopia’s Festivals and Celebrations

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Celebrations in Ethiopia are great and colorful events, mostly religious, and frequently take place over several days. Important Christian holidays include Meskal, Christmas, Timkat, Kiddus Yohannes and Easter. Timkat, which marks Christ's baptism, is the most colorful event of the year.  …

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