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  • Ethiopia – The Place Where Life Began

    Mon, Feb 8, 2010

    Ethiopia

    Ethiopia is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa.  It is considered to be one of the most ancient countries the world has ever seen.  Officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the country is the second most populous nation in the African continent with over 79.2 million residents.  The country’s capital is Addis Ababa.

    Ethiopia is known for a massive highland complex of mountains surrounded by semi-dessert areas and steppes.  The country is considered one of the oldest in the world.  In fact some historians believe Ethiopia is the beginning of mankind, a point which can be debated though.

    Ethiopia has a rare distinction of being the only country in Africa, which never fell under colonization.  In fact, Ethiopia has a proud place in world history. The famous Greek historian of the 5th century BC, Herodotus, has described about the country in his writings.  The Old Testament of the Bible has also recorded the visit of the Queen of Sheba to Jerusalem and lastly, the 3.5 million years old fossils of ‘Lucy’ were found in Northern Ethiopia.

    As it is one of the oldest countries in the world, the nation is full of historical monuments and natural beauties like mountains, waterfalls, lakes and even deserts.

    Let’s have a look at some of the must visit places of this historic nation.

    Harar:

    The roots of this ancient town date back to as early as 896 A.D.  This was the time when the foundation of the first Muslim sultanate was laid.  Later, in 1521 AD, Amir Abubakar Muhammad made Harar his capital.  Later, in the same century, the construction of the Great Wall (Jugal) took place around Harar.  This Great Wall is the town’s greatest feature and as a result, Harar became an important trading center.

    Addis Ababa:

    This city is the capital of modern day Ethiopia.  The city is nestled at the foot of the famous Mount Entoto.  The roots of the city date back to the late 1800s when Ethiopian emperor Menelik II was at the helm of affairs. Addis Ababa is known throughout the world for it houses the fossilized skeleton and replica of world-renown early hominid ‘Lucy’.  The fossils and replica are housed in the Ethiopian National Museum.

    The city is also home to the largest open market in the African continent at the Merkato district.  The place is also famous for cathedrals and Shengo Hall, which ranks as the largest prefabricated building of the world.

    Lalibela:

    Lalibela is famous for its churches.  In total, the town houses 11 Orthodox churches.   The unique part about these churches is that they are all carved out of rock.  Each and every church is made out of solid red rock and date back to the 12 century.  The biggest church of Medhane Alem is 11 m in height and 30 m in length and 24 m in width.  The Beta Giorgis or the Church of St. George resembles a cross surrounded by a 40-ft/12-m trench.

    Historians believe the churches were constructed by King Lalibela to celebrate his conversion to Christianity.  The city was built as the King’s own New Jerusalem.  The town comes alive in the month of September when the baptism of Jesus Christ is celebrated in great fervor. This event attracts people from all around the world to this historic town.

    The Saturday market also brings the town alive. The Ethiopian villagers come together to trade cows, goats, vegetables and cloth.

    Hence, Ethiopia is a great place to visit for all the history lovers as the entire country is full of ancient works for everyone to explore.  The nation is full of churches, mosques and many other things ready for exploration.  So go ahead and plan a trip to this nation.




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