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About Ethiopia

The origin of humankind, the origin of coffee, the origin of the Blue Nile.

Brief History

10th century BC – The Queen of Sheba (Queen Makeda),was the last of a dynasty of rulers who had originally settled Ethiopia from the time of Noah’s great-grandson, Ethiopis.She was a powerful monarch who traded with far-flung countries and travelled to Jerusalem to visit King Solomon. Menelik I, son of the Queen of Sheba from her relationship with King Solomon, went to stay with his father in Jerusalem and brought back to Ethiopia the Biblical Ark of the Covenant, the holiest of old testament artefacts. The “Solomonic dynasty” founded by MenelikI ruled Ethiopia almost unbroken until 1974, when the 225thmonarch in that line, Haile Selassie, was overthrown in the revolution.

1st – 7th century AD – Aksumite Empire – Major maritime power, one of the most important and advanced civilisations of its time, creating the roots of modern Ethiopia and establishing Christianity as the official religion(until 1974).
7th century AD – the first migration (Hijra)of the Companions and relative of the Prophet Muhamed to Ethiopia celebrated the birth of freedom of expression and beliefs.
12th century AD – the amazing and astonishing rock hewn churches of Lalibela (know as the second Jerusalem) were created.
17th century – Gondar was established as the capital of Ethiopia, and is notable for its Medieval castles and churches. The city’s unique Imperial compound contains a number of castles built between 1632 and 1855 by various Emperors who reigned during this period.
1889-1913 – Emperor Menelik II decisively defeats Italy at the historic battle of Adwa in 1896 foiling its colonial ambitions. He completes the process of unification and modernisation started by some of his predecessors.
1930 – Haile Selassie (the last Emperor) was crowned, Five years later fascist Italy invaded Ethiopia and occupied it for the following five years. Yet, Ethiopian patriots put up a stiff resistance throughout the occupation period. With Italy’s declaration of war in 1940 against Britain and the allied powers, British officers and troops decided to attack Italy at its Achilles hill where Ethiopian patriots had already weakened it. Thus, they helped liberate Ethiopia.
1974-1991 – Haile Selassie was overthrown by a socialist-inspired revolution in 1974 and by the military regime which ruled until 1991 under Mengistu Haile Mariam.
1991-2016 – The country’s first democratic republic was installed creating a peaceful country where 80 nations and nationalities and peoples, followers of different religions live in peaceful coexistence.

Ethiopia is located in Eastern Africa and due to its varied landscape it has three distinctive climate zones: Qolla (Hot zone) South East/North East Lowlands. Below 1830m, average annual temperature 27oC, average annual rainfall 510mm. WoinaDega(Mild zone) Central Highlands. Elevation of 1830-2440m, average annual temperature 22oC, average annual rainfall 510mm-1530mm. Dega (Cool zone) – Central Northwestern Plateau and Harar. Above 2440m, average annual temperature 16oC, average annual rainfall 1270-1280mm.

  • June/July/August. Rainy season.
  • September/October/November. Harvest season.
  • December/January/February. Dry season sometimes with cold evenings in January.
  • March/April/May. Occasional showers. May is the hottest month.
  • Situated on the Horn of Africa with a surface area of 1.2 million km2.
  • Ethiopia is twice the size of Texas, and five times larger than the UK.
  • Approximately 70% of Africa’s mountains are in Ethiopia. Two thirds of Ethiopia rises high above Northeast Africa’s lowlands to form part of the Great Rift Valley, a geographical feature that can be seen from the moon.
  • Population: 92 million.
  • The country comprises over 80 ethnic groups.

Below are the most important festivals and holidays in Ethiopia, which are celebrated enthusiastically and which tourists may wish to center their holidays around, being such colorful occasions.

January 7 Thursday Ethiopian Christmas Day
January 20 Wednesday Epiphany (Timket)
March 2 Wednesday Adwa Victory Day
April 29 Friday Ethiopian Good Friday
May 1 Sunday Ethiopian Easter Sunday
May 1 Sunday International Labor Day
May 5 Thursday Patriots Day
May 28 Saturday Derg Downfall Day
July 6 Wednesday Eid al-Fitr
September 12 Monday Ethiopian New Year
September 23 Friday Eid al-Adha
September 28 Wednesday Finding of the True Cross (Meskel)
December 7 Wednesday Nations and Nationalities Day
December 12 Monday Birth of Prophet Mohammed

2016 is a Leap Year; 2017, 2018 and 2019 will have different days/dates for some festivals.

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