Top Ten Ethiopian Attractions

Top Ten Ethiopian Attractions

       Ethiopia is a landlocked country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the 2nd most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million people, and the 10th largest by area, with its 1,100,000 square km. The capital is Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is bordered by Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya. Ethiopia was a monarchy for most of its history with the Ethiopian dynasty tracing its roots to the 2nd century BC. Ethiopia is also one of the oldest sites of human existence known to scientists today, having yielded some of humanity’s oldest traces. It may be the region from which Homo sapiens first set out for the Middle East and points beyond. During the Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was one of only two countries that retained its independence and one of only four African members of the League of Nations. After a brief period of Italian occupation, Ethiopia became a charter member of the United Nations. When other African nations received their independence following WWII, many of them adopted the colors of Ethiopia’s flag and Addis Ababa became the location of several international organizations focused on Africa. Modern Ethiopia and its current borders are a result of significant territorial reduction in the north and expansion in the south toward its present borders, owing to several migrations and commercial integration as well as conquests, particularly by Emperor Menelik II and Ras Gobena. In 1974, the dynasty led by Haile Selassie was overthrown as civil wars intensified. Since then, Ethiopia has seen a variety of governmental systems. Ethiopia has the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa. The country is a land of natural contrasts, with waterfalls and volcanic hot springs. Ethiopia has some of Africa’s highest mountains as well as some of the world’s lowest points below sea level. The largest cave in Africa is located in Ethiopia at Sof Omar. Ethiopia has one of the largest number of rivers in the world while the country’s northernmost area at Dallol, Afar is the hottest place year-round anywhere on Earth. There are altogether around 80 different ethnic groups in Ethiopia today, with the two largest being the Oromo and the Amhara, both of which speak Afro-Asiatic languages. Currently, Ethiopia is the top coffee and honey-producing country in Africa and home to the largest livestock population in Africa. Ethiopia has close historical ties to all three of the world’s major Abrahamic religions. It was one of the first Christian countries in the world, having officially adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th century. It has a Christian majority and a third of the population is Muslim. The Ogaden is the site of the first hijra in Islamic history and the oldest Muslim settlement in Africa at Negash, it was under Somali control from ancient times until 1954 when the British gave the region to Ethiopia. Until the 1980’s, a substantial population of Ethiopian Jews resided in Ethiopia. The country is also the spiritual homeland of the Rastafari religious movement. Today Ethiopia has the biggest economy in East Africa (GDP) as the Ethiopian economy is also one of the fastest growing in the world.

  1. Fasil Ghebbi

    Fasil Ghebbi is a fortress-enclosure located in Gondar, Ethiopia. It served as the home of Ethiopia’s emperors in the 17th and 18th centuries. Its unique architecture shows diverse influences including Nubian, Arab, and Baroque styles. This complex of buildings includes Fasilides castle, Iyasu’s Palace, Dawit’s Hall, a banqueting hall, stables, Mentewab’s Castle, a chancellery, library and three churches: Asasame Qeddus Mikael, Elfin Giyorgis and Gemjabet Mariyam.
    Links: Top Ten Forts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasil_Ghebbi,
  2. Axum


    Axum or Aksum is a city in northern Ethiopia which was the original capital of the eponymous kingdom of Axum. Axum was a naval and trading power that ruled the region from around 400 BC into the 10th century. The kingdom was also arbitrarily identified as Abyssinia, Ethiopia and India in medieval writings.
    Links: Top Ten Obelisks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aksum,
  3. Lalibela



    Lalibela is a town in northern Ethiopia, known for its monolithic churches. Lalibela is one of Ethiopia’s holiest cities, second only to Aksum, and is a center of pilgrimage for much of the country. Unlike Aksum, the population of Lalibela is almost completely Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. The layout and names of the major buildings in Lalibela are widely accepted, especially by the local clergy, to be a symbolic representation of Jerusalem. This has led some experts to date the current form of its famous churches to the years following the capture of Jerusalem in 1187 by the Muslim soldier Saladin. Located in the Semien Wollo Zone of the Amhara ethnic division, or kilil at 2,500 meters above sea level, Lalibela is one of two towns in Bugna woreda.
    Links: Top Ten Rock-Cut Architecture, Top Ten Churches, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lalibela,_Ethiopia,
  4. Simien Mountains National Park


    Simien Mountains National Park is one of the National Parks of Ethiopia. Located in the Semien (North) Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region, its territory covers the Simien Mountains and includes Ras Dashan, the highest point in Ethiopia. It is home to a number of extremely rare species, including the Ethiopian wolf, Gelada Baboon and the Walia Ibex, a wild goat found nowhere else in the world. The Caracal also occurs within the Simien Mountains. More than 50 species of birds inhabit the park, including the impressive Bearded Vulture, or Lammergeier, with its 10-foot (3m) wingspan. The park is crossed by an unpaved road which runs from Debarq, where the administrative headquarters of the park is located, east through a number of villages to the Buahit Pass, where the road turns south to end at Mekane Berhan 10 kilometers beyond the park boundary.
    Links: Top Ten National Parks, Top Ten African National Parks, PrimatesTop Ten Horns, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semien_Mountains_National_Park,
  5. Harar

    Harar is an eastern city in Ethiopia, and the capital of the modern Harari ethno-political division (or kilil) of Ethiopia. The city is located on a hilltop, in the eastern extension of the Ethiopian highlands about 500 km from Addis Ababa. Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Harar has an estimated total population of 122,000. According to the census of 1994, on which this estimate is based, the city has a population of 76,378. For centuries, Harar has been a major commercial centre, linked by the trade routes with the rest of Ethiopia, the entire Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and, through its ports, the outside world. According to UNESCO, it is “considered ‘the fourth holy city’ of Islam” with 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines. Harar is also famous for its distinctive, natural processed coffees which bear the same name.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harar_Jugol,_the_Fortified_Historic_Town,
  6. Konso


    Konso is a town on the Sagan River in southwestern Ethiopia. The administrative center of the Konso special woreda of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region. It is also called Pakawle by some of the neighboring inhabitants.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 African Sculptures, Top Ten Totem Poles, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konso,
  7. Omo River


    The Omo River is an important river of southern Ethiopia. Its course is entirely contained within the boundaries of Ethiopia, and empties into Lake Turkana on the border with Kenya. It is the principal stream of an endorheic drainage basin; the part that the Omo drains includes part of the western Oromia Region and the middle of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region. During his second expedition (1895–1897), Vittorio Bottego was the first European explorer to follow the course of the lower Omo River to its confluence with Lake Turkana.
    Links: Top Ten Rivers, Top Ten African Rivershttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lower_Valley_of_the_Omo,
  8. Awash River


    The Awash is a major river of Ethiopia. Its course is entirely contained within the boundaries of Ethiopia and empties into a chain of interconnected lakes that begin with Lake Gargori and end with Lake Abbe (or Abhe Bad) on the border with Djibouti, some 100 km (60 or 70 miles) from the head of the Gulf of Tadjoura. It is the principal stream of a drainage basin covering parts of the Amhara, Oromia and Somali Regions, as well as the southern half of the Afar Region.
    Links: Top Ten Rivers, Top Ten African Rivershttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Awash_River,
  9. Tiya

    Tiya is a town in southern Ethiopia, located in the Gurage Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region south of Addis Ababa. Tiya is best known for its adjacent archeological site, which is distinguished by 36 standing stones or stelae, “32 of which are engraved with enigmatic symbols, notably swords,” marking a large, prehistoric burial complex. A German ethnographic expedition had visited the site in April 1935, and had found at one hour’s journey to the south of the caravan camp the stone monoliths with sword symbol, which had been seen earlier by Neuville and Père Azaïs. Other points of interest near Tiya include Melka Awash, the Hera Shetan crater lake and Agesoke, a place where very tall naturally ordered stone blocks can be seen. Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Tiya has an estimated total population of 3,363. The 1994 national census reported this town had a total population of 1,856 of whom 894 were males and 962 were females. Tiya is one of three towns in Soddo woreda.
    Links: Top Ten Tombs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiya,
  10. Ogaden

    Ogaden is the name of a territory comprising the southeastern portion of the Somali Regional State in Ethiopia. The inhabitants are predominantly ethnic Somali and Muslim. The title “Somali Galbeed,” which means “Western Somalia,” is often preferred by Somali irredentists. The region, which is around 200,000 square kilometers, borders Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia. Important towns include Jijiga (Jigjiga), Awbere, Feer Feer, Degehabur, Raaso, (Dhagaxbuur in Somali), Gode (Godey), Kebri Dahar (Qabridahare), Fiq, Shilavo (Shilaabo), Kelafo, Werder (Wardheer) and Denan. The Ogaden is a plateau, with an elevation above sea level that ranges from 1,500 meters in the northwest, falling to about 300 meters along the southern limits and the Wabi Shebelle valley. The Ogaden is the site of the first hijra in Islamic history and the oldest Muslim settlement in Africa at Negash. There are not a lot of historical texts written about “Ogaden.” It was part of the Muslim Ifat Sultanate in the 13th and beginning of the 14th centuries AD. The borders of the sultanate extended to the Shewa, Addis Ababa area of Ethiopia. The region developed its own Adal kingdom from late 14th to the last quarter of the 19th century. There was an ongoing conflict between the Adal kingdom and the Christian Kingdom of Abyssinia throughout this time. Both Abyssinia and the Adal kingdom are mostly located in present day Ethiopia. During the first half of the 16th century, most of Abyssinian territory was conquered and came under the rule of Adal, when Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi, the leader of the Somali-dominated Adal’s Army, took control.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogaden,
  11. Sof Omar Caves

    At 15.1 km (9.4 mi) long, Sof Omar Cave is the longest cave in Ethiopia. Some sources claim it is even the longest system of caves in Africa and ranks as the 306th longest in the World. It is situated in the Bale province in southeastern Ethiopia through which the Weyib River (Gestro River) flows. It sinks at the Ayiew Maco entrance and reappears at the Holuca resurgence 1 km (0.62 mi) away. Long a religious center  it is sacred both to local traditional religions and to Islam. The caves are known for their many pillars, particularly in the “Chamber of Columns.”
    Links: Top Ten Caves, Top Ten African Caves,
  12. Links: Top Ten Ethiopian Hotels, Top Ten Brands of Coffee, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopia,