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Ethiopia - In the Horn of Africa

World  (tags: africa, ethiopia, people, places, travel )

- 1604 days ago -
Ethiopia, located in the horn of Africa, is endowed with a lot of history from being the country with one of the oldest sites of human existence....

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Kit B (276)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 9:24 am
Map Credit: World

Ethiopia, located in the horn of Africa, is endowed with a lot of history from being the country with one of the oldest sites of human existence to being one of two countries that were not colonized in Africa as well as being home to Haile Selassie, believed be the father of Rastafarianism, and source of the Nile. Ethiopia is, therefore, a country of discovery and adventure and some popular attractions, some famous and others less famous are listed below.

5 Facts You Might Not Know:

1) The Gondar Castles in Gondar are famous over their design and decorations. These castles which are very old are still in sound condition and one can climb its stairs all the way to the top where one enjoys a breathtaking view of the surrounding and much of the city.

2) The Tisisat falls of the Blue Nile near Bahar dam create spectacular rainbows when the Nile waters thunder over the cliff and into a gorge creating an exquisite display that earns it the name 'smoking water'. The falls are about 225 kilometers from the capital city, Addis Ababa and one gets to enjoy scenic beauty on the way to the falls.

3) River Nile is known all over the world as the longest river and as the source of livelihood in Egypt. The source of the Blue Nile, which provides the most waters into the Nile, is Lake Tana in Ethiopia. Apart from being the source of the Blue Nile, Lake Tana also contains some floating islands that are home to fascinating churches and monasteries.

4) Ethiopia is also home to the Rift Valley, which spreads across several countries in East Africa. The Ethiopian Rift Valley comprises some awesome hot springs, lakes and a variety of wild animals. The water of the hot springs is valued for its therapeutic qualities.

5) Ethiopia is also home to exotic wildlife and birds. The country's wildlife reserves and national parks contain numerous species of birds, which live prolific lives due to the numerous rivers and lakes, as well as indigenous African wildlife animals like.

More Interesting Facts About Ethiopia:

#1: The Watch & The Calendar

•Ethiopia counts its time on the opposite side of its clock. This can be tallied to being behind by 6 hours. 6 pm would be 12 noon and 12 noon would be 6 am.

•The Ethiopian calendar has 13 months. The calendar is eight years behind the Western calendar. The months are usually 30 days long but the last month has 5 or 6 days.

•September 11th is celebrated as the day of New Year.

#2: Coffee’s Birthplace:

•Ethiopia is the country where coffee was first discovered. Hence it is considered coffee’s homeland.

•It was first noticed by a shepherd named Kaldi, whose goats started pacing restlessly after eating the plant’s leaves.

•The word coffee itself is considered borrowed from the southern Ethiopian lands of Kaffa.

#3: Christianity & Ethiopia:
There are some interesting facts about Ethiopia related to the religion Christian, here they are:

•Ethiopia and its people, the Ethiopians have been mentioned in the Bible. The number of times varies from 40 to 60 according to different sources.

•There are a lot of churches here and this gives Ethiopia a prominent place in the World as well as Christian history.

•Ethiopia also claims that the final resting place of the Arc of the covenant is at a chapel in the holy city of Aksum, which was once, the capital of Ethiopia.

#4: Islam in Ethiopia
There are some interesting facts about Ethiopia related to the religion Islam, here they are:

•Ethiopia has been mentioned in the Koran. It is also worth mentioning that it has mentions in the Iliad and Oddessey.

•Ethiopia also happens to be the first country where muslim prayers were held outside Arabia.

•Al Nejashi is the first mosque that has been built outside Arabia.

•Ethiopia was the country in which Mohamed and his followers found solace when they were persecuted.

#5: League of Nations:

•Ethiopia is one of the countries that have not been invaded and conquered. Italy had been defeated twice when it tried to.

•The country was the first to join the League of Nations, which soon proved to be fruitless. The nations belonging to this league would be given support known as ‘ collective support’. When mass murders and ethnic cleansing happened in Ethiopia, the others did not just bother.

#6: African Union:

•Emperor Hailesellasie I firmly believed that the states of Africa should unite and be its own master. This led to the birth of Pan Africanism. This thought materialized to what is the African Union today.

#7: Hot Spots:

•Addis Ababa is the highest city in Africa. Goof up that happens with this city is that, tourists tend to assume that this city will also be as hot as any other African city. They are in for a surprise when they find out in person, how cool the city is, and how cold it can get.

•The hottest place in the world is the Afar depression or the Afar triangle. The highlight is that it remains so throughout the year.

#8: Candace
•Candace is the name given to the ancient queens who ruled Ethiopia. It is also spelt as Kandake or Kentake.

#9: Sharing Names:
•Ethiopian fathers and their children do not share last names. The children take the first name of their father as their last name.

#10: Tukul
•The traditional homes were huts called tukuls. The floor is dirt, while the walls are sticks and mud and the roof is made from Tef, a long
Read more:

Culture and Foods of Ethiopia:


Ethiopia has a diverse mix of ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. It is a country with more than 80 different ethnic groups each with its own language, culture, custom and tradition. One of the most significant areas of Ethiopian culture is its literature, which is represented predominantly by translations from ancient Greek and Hebrew religious texts into the ancient language Ge'ez, modern Amharic and Tigrigna languages.

Ge'ez is one of the most ancient languages in the world and is still used today by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has its own unique customs and traditions, which have been influenced by Judaism.

The Tigrayans' history and culture is derived from the Aksumite Kingdom tradition and culture whereas the history and culture of the Amhara people is derived from the post Aksumite imperial reign of Menelik II and Haile Selassie.


In Ethiopia, men and women have clearly defined roles. Traditionally men are responsible for providing for the family and for dealing with family contact outside the home whereas women are responsible for domestic work and looking after the children.

Parents are stricter with their daughters than their sons; often parents give more freedom to males than females. The traditional view was men neither cook nor do shopping because housework tends to be women's job. This view continues to be held in many areas of the country.

Although many people continue to follow these traditional roles, life is constantly evolving including the role of men and women. This can be seen particularly true in urban areas where women are beginning to take a major role in all areas of employment and men are beginning to take a greater role in domestic life.


The Ethiopian traditional costume is made of woven cotton. Ethiopian men and women wear this traditional costume called gabbi or Netella. Women often wear dresses (Kemis) and netella with borders of coloured embroidered woven crosses, but other designs are also used.

Other ethnic groups and tribes in the south and west of the country wear different costumes that reflect their own traditions. Some tribes partially cover their body with leather but others do not wear any clothes at all, merely decorating their faces and bodies with distinctive images.


The Ethiopian national dish is called wat. It is a hot spicy stew accompanied by injera (traditional large spongy pancake made of teff flour and water). Teff is unique to the country and is grown on the Ethiopian highlands. There are many varieties of wat, e.g. chicken, beef, lamb, vegetables, lentils, and ground split peas stewed with hot spice called berbere.

Berbere is made of dried red hot pepper, herbs, spices, dried onions, dried garlic and salt ingredients. Wat is served by placing it on top of the injera which is served in a mesob (large basket tray). The food is eaten with fingers by tearing off a piece of injera and dipping it in the wat.

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians do not eat meat and diary products (i.e. egg, butter, milk, and cheese) on Wednesdays and Fridays except the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost, the Fast of the Prophets, the fast of Nineveh, Lent, the Fast of the Apostles and the fast of the Holy Virgin Mary. According to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church belief, the faithful must abstain from eating meat and diary products to attain forgiveness of sins committed during the year, and undergo a rigorous schedule of prayers and atonement.

Vegetarian meals such as lentils, ground split peas, grains, fruit, varieties of vegetable stew accompanied by injera and/or bread are only eaten during fasting days. Meat and diary products are only eaten on feasting days i.e. Christmas, Epiphany, Easter and at all other times. Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians, Jews and Muslims do not eat pork as it forbidden by their religious beliefs.


The favourite drink of many Ethiopians is bunna (coffee). Bunna is drunk in Ethiopia in a unique and traditional way known as a "coffee ceremony". First the coffee is roasted, then ground and placed in a Jebena (coffee pot) with boiling water. When ready it is then served to people in little cups, up to three times per ceremony.

Other locally produced beverages are tella and tej, which are served and drunk on major religious festivals, Saints Days and weddings. Tella and tej are also sold by numerous designated commercial houses all over the country.

***There is no political commentary about Ethiopia, for that one can easily look it up for themselves. This is offered for the fun of learning and seeing different parts of this world.

Ben O (172)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 9:36 am
Well, I will not go to Ethiopia. For many reasons...
Annual Report; Ethiopia 2013, Amnesty International:

Ben O (172)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 9:51 am
Here's some more from the party pooper...
Ethiopia's Ogaden Province Natural Resources Greed Override the Human rights:

Ben O (172)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 10:04 am
One more thing, then I'll rest my case. "Journalism under Ethiopia's anti-terrorism law" (Video)

Past Member (0)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 10:04 am
Interesting country with natural beauty---but not one i'll be visiting, Thx Kit

Kit B (276)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 10:12 am

If you want to know more about Ethiopia, Ben has offered some good links. Like I said, I'm not addressing the politics of these countries, only offering a view of the geography and culture of each country.

Arielle S (313)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 10:16 am
What a great way to learn a little geography and something about different cultures - these "visits" to different countries are informative and fun, Kit - many thanks!!!

Pat B (356)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 10:28 am
I enjoyed the Wondo Genet, and seeing the Rift Valley . Thank you, Kit, once again, for our grand tour.

Nicole W (646)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 10:52 am
another interesting excursion, ty dear Kit

Vallee R (280)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 3:11 pm
I love these - I know nothing about many places. Thanks Kit - good for us to know -

JL A (281)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 3:43 pm
It was fun how some of the crew were apparently recruited to participate in what was being filmed, too! Thanks Kit.

marie C (163)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 4:00 pm
Fascinating as usual Thanks Kit

pam w (139)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 4:33 pm
AND...some of the most beautiful people you'll ever see!

MmAway M (505)
Tuesday November 26, 2013, 7:07 pm
OK...Again I am going to take a trip tomorrow. Not tonight Darling will you do do a trip up the the California Coast??? I will help I do think people would adore it...If you did it before then ....xx

Jonathan Harper (0)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 4:16 am

Mary Donnelly (47)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 12:30 pm
Another wonderful post--thanks Kit.

Birgit W (160)
Wednesday November 27, 2013, 5:03 pm
Thanks for sharing Kit.

Winn A (179)
Thursday November 28, 2013, 6:18 am
Thanks for the information, very interesting. I'm glad I'm a woman living in the US. Just sayin . . . .

Howard Crosse (21)
Thursday November 28, 2013, 11:17 am
I think I'm getting the idea of these virtual tours Kit. Ethiopia sounds like a wonderful place but sadly, like quite a few other countries in Africa, it is not without its' troubles. I have visited the continent of Africa quite a few times, it has a vibrancy and colour which is unique to that continent. I'm looking forward to my next arm chair visit.

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Thursday November 28, 2013, 11:57 pm
Thank you for the virtual adventure! I hope and pray for peace in Ethiopia and the rest of the continent, but I fear that as long as their are minerals to mine along with other natural resources to exploit there will be no peace in that part of the world.

Craig Pittman (52)
Saturday November 30, 2013, 4:56 am
Informative and fascinating as always Kit. Thanks for the journey and history.

Melania Padilla (122)
Wednesday December 4, 2013, 2:12 pm
Beautiful nature!
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