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An inexhaustible sources of wonder for travelers- a sprawling country of ancient African civilization, colorful festivals, breath taking landscapes, diverse tribal culture and amazingly friendly people.
Dating back to the very beginnings of mankind, Ethiopia is old…old, beyond imagination. It is also the land of Queen of Sheba, a place of legendary rulers, fabulous kingdoms in ancient histories. Mother Nature was in a playful mood when she created Ethiopia, the result is a land that varies greatly from one region to the next. With more than 80 languages and some 200 dialects, each ethnic group, preserves its own unique customs and traditions.
There are many reasons to visit this fascinating country, Ethiopia and the following are only some of the reasons.
Ethiopia, “the origin of mankind”
Ethiopia is the earliest known home of humankind. What are believed to be the oldest remains of a human ancestor ever found, which have been dated as being some five million years old, were discovered in the Awash Valley in Ethiopia. This recent discover beats the discovery of "Lucy", a 3.4 million, a skeleton of an older human ancestor Australopithecus Afarensis which was discovered in 1974 in the Afar region. In this discovery, anthropologists have established that the skeleton covering 40% of the human body had belonged to a twenty-years-old female that lived 3.5 million years ago. Registered by the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage, the site of the discovery is called Hadar - situated 160 kilometers northeast of Addis Ababa. The skeleton is now found in the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
Undiluted and living ancient African culture and civilization
Ethiopia has the most extensive historic sites in Sub - Saharan Africa. The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, often referred by many as “the living wonders of the world” The oldest hominid remains (Australopithecus Ramidus, a new species, 4.4 million years old) were found here.
A land of diverse tribal culture and friendly people
With more than 80 ethnic groups and some 200 dialects, each ethnic group, preserves its own unique customs and traditions. In the remote mountains and in the Great Ethiopian Rift valley, you will find unique tribes living in a life style they were living thousands of years ago. You will also find all the major religions of the world in Ethiopia. But for all the exotic variety, the people of Ethiopia are as one and for their friendliness and hospitality.
- In 1582 when the rest of the Christian world adopted the Gregorian calendar, Ethiopia stayed with the Julian calendar.
- With the passage of time, seven and a half years have somehow dissolved in the intervening centuries.
Unique languages and writing
Ethiopia is the only African country with its own Alphabet Letters and numbers that traces its origin back to a very ancient time. It has an alphabet which consists of 33 letters each with 7 characters.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the oldest Christian church in Africa and officially the third oldest in the world. Christianity became the state religion in the Axumite
Empire in 330 AD., even before Rome.
Muslim refugees were given asylum in Ethiopia, established communities and were free to worship before Islam triumphed
in its birthplace Arabia.
3000 years of Independence
Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa with 3000 years of independence.
Origin of Coffee
The story of coffee has its beginnings in Ethiopia, the original home of the coffee plant, coffee Arabica, which still grows wild in the forest of the Ethiopian Western Highlands including Kaffa. Those who can’t face their day without a cup of coffee may be surprised to know that in its birthplace in Ethiopia’s Kaffa region-from which it gets its name- the berries were originally only eaten, never roasted and ground for a drink. Only since the 13th century, coffee has been made a hot drink. Holding a coffee ceremony is a traditional Ethiopian way of welcoming a guest and giving the guest the best hospitality. It is probably one of the most celebrated Ethiopian traditions, and a lifestyle - in which most Ethiopians can identify themselves with.
Top to bottom
In elevation, it ranges from 120 meters below sea level in harsh salt flats of the Danakil depression, to the 4624-meter peak of Ras Dashen in the Simien Mountains.
Ethiopia, well known to the ancient writers
Ethiopia was well known to the ancient writers. It is mentioned in the Bible more than 38 times by both Old Testament and New Testament writers. So, in accordance with the Biblical traditions of the ancient Israel, Ethiopia is described as the land of "CUSH" which was located by the "RIVER NILE" (Gen. 2: 13). The Septuagint (The Greek Translation) also describes it after the name of "ETHIOPIA" which has the same location.
Apart from the Biblical traditions, many historians knew Ethiopia and described its geographical location, referring towards the south of Egypt, which was populated by both Hamitic and Semitic stocks of people. According to the ancient Egyptian tradition, it was known as the "LAND OF PUNT" located at the end of the World, and they said "Land of Ghost."
Homer (Greek poet of the 8th century B.C.) knew of this historical land and its people, when he said "ETHIOPIA, THE LAND OF SUN BURNED FACE." He described inhabitants again, as "THE BLAMELESS RACE."
Herodotus (Greek historian, 485-25 B.C.) praised the nation of Ethiopia as " THE MOST JUST MEN".
The legal Source of Ethiopia starts the introduction of Judaism to Ethiopia is recorded in the KEBRE NEGEST (The Glory of the Kings). This book reflects heavily its focal point upon two historical events:
A. The birth of Menelik, Son of Solomon, King of Israel and the Queen Sheba of Ethiopia. (970-33 B.C.)
B. The Ark of the Covenant which was brought to Axum from Jerusalem by the Levites. (946-B.C.?)
Apart from the Kebre Negest, there are vast reliable written sources which describe that Ethiopia had good relationship with the Nation of Israel. According to Biblical Sources, the relationship began in the time of Moses, which continues perpetually throughout the time of the New Testament era. (Numbers 12:1; I Kings 10:1-13; 2 Chron. 9:1-12; Mt. 12:42; Acts 8:27-39).
These sources start that next to the nation of Israel only Ethiopia knew, and confessed the Almighty God (The God of Abraham) and worshiped Him regularly. For example, the psalmist said: ETHIOPIA SHALL SOON STRETCH OUT HER HANDS UNTO GOD'S. (Ps. 67:31 68).
This witness affirms the earnest prayer of Ethiopia, which was based on her impeccable faith in the Almighty God. Even among the people of Israel, the Ethiopians seem to be more dear to the Almighty God than they. For example, Amos, the Prophet, bears witness of this truth, when he says: "ARE YOU NOT LIKE THE ETHIOPIANS TO ME, O PEOPLE OF ISRAEL?" (AM. 9:7).
Ethiopia, then called Abyssinia, has beckoned explorers, writers and adventure seekers for thousands of years. It's as exotic and exciting as it sounds, after all this is the land where all begun. Now, it's your turn to experience this truly magical land!