Ethiopia is a land steeped in History, A land rich in traditions, culture and religious beliefs; It is a magical, mysterious, beautiful and amazing country. It is the origin of our human ancestors, the famous Lucy who was discovered in 1974 and was dated to 3.5 million years ago. Ethiopia is also the home to human civilization. It is a land where the ancient forms of Christianity, Judaism and Islam existed in harmony for many centuries.  Ethiopia holds the title of being the only country never colonized by another. It’s a land of thirteen months of sunshine and the only country in Africa with its own calendar, time system and alphabet. Ethiopia is a place of great natural beauty, containing, rich forests, and mountains exceeding 4000 meters, lakes, rivers, valleys, and deserts. Ethiopia is the birthplace of Coffee and some of the world’s most important crops. For an outstanding travel experience, one should not miss the unique opportunity of visiting the Ancient land of Ethiopia.

History

Ethiopia’s history can be traced back to at least 3000 years ago when the Queen of Sheba, Makeda journeyed from Ethiopia to visit and learn from the Biblical King Solomon in Israel. Legend tells that the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Ethiopia by Menelik I, the son of Queen Makeda and King Solomon. Today the ark is said to lie in the St. Mary of Zion Church in Axum. Ethiopia is also known as the “Cradle of Humanity.” In 1974 G.C. Australopithecus Afarensis, commonly known as Lucy was discovered in a dry lake bed in Hadar. She is one of the oldest and most complete hominids ever discovered, proving that Human Life originated here. The Axumite Kingdom began in about 400 B.C, and was one of the very first capitals of Semitic Culture in Northern Ethiopia. Although the first capital was at the ancient city of Yeha, the town of Axum was. Considered to be one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient world. In its heydey, the kingdom traded with others in India, Asia and the modern day Middle East.  Ethiopian legend tells that during the time of the apostles, the Ethiopian eunuch serving under rhe Queen Candace was returning from Jerusalem when he met the Apostle Phillip on the road. The Apostle taught him about Christ and he was baptized there on the spot. He is the first Ethiopian on record to have accepted Christianity. It did not become the state religion until the fourth century A.D. however.  At the end of the 5th century, a group of missionaries known as the 9 saints established monasteries in the country including Debre Damo. It was also at this time that the Bible was translated from Greek to Geez.

Culture

Ethiopia’s cultural diversity is one of its main attractions as a tourist destination. This is due to the length of its history and the fact that over 83 languages and 200 dialects are spoken here. This creates for a very rich travel experience acclaimed worldwide. The Ethiopian Christian faith plays a huge part in Ethiopian Culture and tradition. The Ethiopian Tewahido Orthodox Church is one of the Religious cornerstones of Ethiopia and its ceremonies and customs are a major part of life here. It has been the foundation of religious life in Ethiopia since the fourth century A.D. Ethiopia is also one of the only countries in the world to follow the Julian or Coptic Calendar, so there are 13 months celebrated here in Ethiopia. They consist of twelve months of 30 days each; the remaining five days make up the month of Pagume. Ethiopia falls seven years and eight months behind the Gregorian Calendar and the New Year is celebrated on September 11. In The South, the Omo Valley is one of the most sought after destinations, there exist here many tribes that still dress in animal skins, and paint their bodies with clay. Of the over 80 languages used in Ethiopia, Amharic is the official language of the country; however Tigrigna and Orominya are the next widely spoken languages. The Cultural heritage of Ethiopia is also rich in Art. Dance, Crafts and Costumes. Many of the Ethnic groups of the country have their own unique form of artistic expression.

Environment

Containing a land area of approximately, 1, 098, 00 sq. km, Ethiopia is five time the size of Britain and twice the size of Texas. Ethiopia is a outstanding and very diverse country in terms of natural beauty and scenery, from the rugged Semien Mountains at an altitude of over 4000 meters, to the arid desert landscapes of the Afar Region and The Bale Mountains, Ethiopia has it all. There are many types of Ecosystems within Ethiopia, Afro-Alpine Vegetation, Desert Scrubland. Evergreen Montane forests, grasslands, deciduous forests and wetlands. Ethiopia has the tenth highest mountains in Africa, Lakes, Rivers, Waterfalls, including the famous Blue Nile Falls near Bahir Dar and much more. Ethiopia also boasts an outstanding number of endemic plants, and wildlife. Many of these plants and wildlife have developed their own unique adaptations, due to the fact of being cut off from other environments. Ethiopia is known as a Birders paradise for the number of species found here. More than 860 have been identified of which more than twenty are found only in Ethiopia. Not only birds, but wildlife, such as the Walia Ibex, The Wild Ass, Gelada Baboon, Ethiopian Wolves and Menelik’s Bushbuck. In addition, there are 15 national parks and 3 wildlife sanctuaries in Ethiopia.

Climate

Ethiopia’s climate varies from very cold to very hot. Although it is located close to the Equator, The climate of the central plateau and highlands is temperate. The annual average daytime temperature hovers around 16 centigrade(60 F). The hottest parts of the country are in the East in the Afar, Danakil and Harar regions and in the west towards Sudan. The rainy season, or Keremt occurs during the months of June to early October. A short rainy season takes place in March and April. The Semien and Bale Mountains even receive snow occasionally. The southern part of Ethiopia can be described as Semi-Tropical due to the fact of the heat and moisture that occurs there. That is why in the south, Mangos, Avocado, Banana, Guava, Oranges and Lemons are so common. The average rainfall in the Highlands during the rainy season is about 1000mm.