You may be already aware of the fact that Ethiopia is an ancient country whose unique cultural heritage, rich history and remarkable biodiversity are reflected in a tally of nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites - more than any other country in Africa.
Ethiopia is the first African country to declare Christianity as a state religion (in the 4th Century AD). You also find the world's fourth-holiest Islamic city in Ethiopia at the stonewalled city of Harar.
Compelling antiquities include the mediaeval rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and Gheralta, ruined palaces and temples dating back 3,000 years, the magnificent 17th century castles of Gondar, and the oldest human fossils unearthed anywhere on the planet. Add to this the beautiful Simien and Bale Mountains, the spectacular volcanic landscapes of the Danakil Depression that some visitors referred to as “the New Planet just located here on Planet Earth”.And a wealth of mammals and birds found nowhere else in the world, and it's little wonder that Ethiopia has become the most attractive and popular emergent tourist destination in Africa.
The food and drink of Ethiopia reflects the many different cultures. On your trip across the different cultures, you may experience and experiment the diverse and distinct tests from the local communities as well from the restaurants. A typical dish is Wot, a hot spicy stew of meat or vegetables, seasoned with a blend of Berbere (chillie powder).
It may also be made with Doro (chicken), and normally served with Injera, the traditional spongy pancake made from a fermented Teff flour batter.Ethiopia now produces excellent wine, 7 varieties under the brand names Rift Valley and Acacia. The famous honey wine or Tej is found all over the country as is Tela, a local beer, and Katikala, distillated liquor.
Religion: Religion in this fascinating country is unique as well. Many Visitors know Ethiopia for its Splendid Rock-hewn churches and colourful ceremonies, symbolic of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Christianity and Islam are the two main religions in Ethiopia. Ofcourse Ethiopia is the first country to embrace two of the Major World Religions, Christianity as well as Islam. Most of the Christians belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. While visiting Churches- Shoes must be removed before entering the building. - One should never smoke anywhere near a church. - Only priests are allowed to step into the Holy of Holies where the 'TABOT'- replica of the Ark of the Covenant is kept. As well as around 50 million Ethiopians who are Orthodox Christians, some 33% of the populations are Muslim, and about 18% are others.Visitors will find both mosques and a few English speaking protestant churches in Addis.
Hotels: Addis Ababa has hotels that cater for all pockets, from the luxurious Sheraton and Hilton hotels to the tourist class hotels. Outside Addis, mainly in the 'Historic Route', good standard hotels are available. However, to visit the remote and the people of the wilderness, Clean Local Hotels and Lodges are available now adays.Here, you may need to consider utilizing the Tailor-made services of Yari Tour, including the Catering Services that accompany you on your trips.
Climate: there are two seasons: the dry season prevails from October through May; the wet season runs from June to September. One thing that makes your stay here in Ethiopia exceptional is the fact that you continue to experience the Sun Shine, the 13 months of Sun Shine!
Visa: Visa are required for all foreign visitors to Ethiopia. These can be secured from Ethiopian Diplomatic and consular missions abroad. In addition .Visitors from the countries listed below can obtain visa on arrival at Bole International Airport (Addis Ababa): Argentina, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Rep.Korea,France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Rep.Korea, kuwait, Luxemberg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States. Currently, the Government of Ethiopia is considering the issuance of VISA on arrival, particularly to tourists and travelers coming from all of the African countries.
Customs: Duty-free import are permitted for up to:
- 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars or 1/2 lb of tobacco
- 1 liter of alcoholic beverages
- 1/2 liter, or two bottles of perfumes
Visitors may export souvenirs with a value not exceeding Birr 500, although some articles (such as animal skins and antiques) require an export permit.
Time: Ethiopia is in the GMT + 3 hours time zone.
Ethiopian Calendar: Ethiopia still retains the Julian Calendar, in which the year is divided into 12 months of 30 days each, and a 13th month of five days and six days during the leap year. The Ethiopian Calendar is almost eight years behind the Gregorian calendar.
Currency: The local currency is the Ethiopian Birr made up of 100 cents. Visitors may import an unlimited amount of foreign currency, providing declaration of such currency is made to customs on arrival. Foreign currency may be changed only at authorized banks and hotels. The currency declaration form must be retained, as this will be required by customs on departure. Visitors, however, will be able to change any excess Ethiopian Birr to foreign currency at the bank in the airport(Or anywhere else they choose in other banks) before departure.
ATMS now found in major towns but not Lalibela.
Topography: Ethiopia has an elevated central plateau varying in height between 2,000 and 3,000 meters. In the north and in the center of the country, there are some 25 mountains whose peaks rise over 4000 meters. The highest one is 4543m above sea level and 116 below sea level(Dankal depression)
Electric Supply: Ethiopia uses 220 volts 50 cycles AC. Plugs are thin two pin, Italian style.
People; the population is estimated over 100 million, over 50 per cent are under 20 years old. The average number of inhabitants per square kilometer is 49.
Language: Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic state with a great variety of languages spoken in the country, of which there are 83 with 200 dialects. The main three languages are Amharic (the national language of the country), Tigrigna and Oromigna. English is also widely spoken.
Also, read our recent interesting travel blogs on Ethiopia.
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