About Ethiopia

Ethiopia was home to the most ancient Kingdom in Africa, one of the first monarchies in the world. It is the sole African country to possess an alphabet more than 2000years old.

Its name is derived from the Greek Aithiopia, which means “Land of the burnt face.” In antiquity, this name referred to the territories south of the empire of the pharaohs. It was also known in Europe as Abyssinia, a term coming from the Arabic Habashat, which referred to one of the tribes South of Arabia that emigrated to Ethiopia at the beginning of its history.

Ethiopia is a land of plenty with a long and noble history giving rise to ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity. It is the only African country never to have been colonized. It has more than 80 unique rich ethnic, cultural and linguistic groups.

Ethiopia is renowned for its distinctive Christian tradition and association with the Ark of the Covenant. It offers the most dramatic scenery of unsurpassed grandeur (i.e. Simien Mountains National Park), unique rock-hewn churches, the spectacular Blue Nile Falls, the Great Rift Valley, the Danakil Depression, imperial castles, monuments of an ancient civilization linked with the legend of the Queen of Sheba.

Its dominant feature, diversity, can be observed in the ethnic groups, languages, religious, geography, climate, fauna and flora. This diversity may be due to Ethiopia’s isolation, a possible result of the characteristics of its great central massif.
Ethiopia is the tenth largest country in Africa with a surface area of 1,194,000 square kilometres (461,003 sq.miles). It lies in eastern Africa, between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer, in a region known as the Horn of Africa. Bordered by five countries, it is landlocked (due to the separation from Eritrea)

Ethiopia has their own way of telling time: the first hour of the day corresponds with the rising of the sun and the last hour is around sunset. The day is divided into two parts, each lasting twelve hours. Six o’clock in the morning international time is actually twelve o’clock Ethiopian time. Internationally Ethiopian is considered three hours from the Greenwich meridian, and does not undergo any time changes throughout the year. Its location near the equator allows Ethiopia nearly twelve hours of sunlight during any season.

The calendar is another unique feature – it has 13months. Using the Julian calendar, Ethiopia has twelve lunar months of thirty days plus one month of five or six days, depending on the leap year. The Julian calendar began 7 years and 113 days after the Christian age, making the first day of the New Year September 11.

This land of contrasts boasts snow-capped peaks and torrid deserts, fresh and saltwater lakes, high plateau and plains, lush green landscapes and barren ones, with such rivers as the ABay with lovely blue waters trumling over impressive waterfalls or earth-coloured rivers as the Omo, whose banks are bordered by dense forests of acacias.


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