Info On Ethiopia

Ethiopia “When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon's fame, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions... Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. There had never been such precious stones and spices as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. Also the ships of Hiram, which brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir a very great number of almug trees and precious stones.” (The Bible: I Kings 10: 10 – 11)

Ethiopia is the cradle of mankind and one of the most ancient independent nations on earth with a more than 3000 years of unbroken history. Ethiopia is since time immemorial known for it’s wealth of spice, gold and precious stones. The western explorers never managed to penetrate its mysterious hinterlands so Ethiopia, to this very day, still remains culturally pristine and virginally unexplored and unexploited. Your journey to Ethiopia will bestow you the most amassing cultural encounters, culinary experiences and discoveries of precious stones, of your lifetime.

COUNTRY FACTS

Official name: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Head of State (President) Girma Wolde Giorgis

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (with full executive powers)

Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin

Membership of international groupings/organisations United Nations, African Union (AU), Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

Location Ethiopia is located in north eastern part of Africa, what is sometimes referred to as the "Horn of Africa." It is bordered by Eritrea in the north (912 km), Kenya in the South (830 km), Djibouti and Somalia in the east (337 km and 1,626 km respectively), and the Sudan in the west (1,606 km). [See map above]

Area: 1.13 million sq km (437,794 sq miles)

Population: 83.1 million (UN, 2007)

Capital City: Addis Ababa Founded in 1887, Addis Ababa is the commercial and political capital of Ethiopia. It is officially home to over four million people (demographic population estimations; eight million people). Addis Ababa is the largest city in the country and it is also the seat of the Federal Government of Ethiopia. It hosts numerous embassies, dignitaries, and regional, international, and non-governmental organizations, such as the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The city lies on the central plateau at an altitude of 2,400m, 9 degrees north of the equator. Its average temperature is 16 degrees Celsius.

Ethiopia's other important cities: Awassa, Dessie, Bahir Dar, Debre Markos, Dire Dawa, Gondar, Harar, Jimma, Mekele, Nazareth, Nekemte. All these towns are connected to Addis Ababa by asphalt and gravel roads as well as by air.

Topography The Ethiopian topography is best expressed as a complex blend of massive highlands, highly rugged terrain, and tremendous gorges and canyons. The country is divided by the Great Rift Valley running from southwest to northeast it concist of desert , semi-desert and savannah. The great topographical diversity is the cause of wide climate, soil and vegetation variations as well as settlement patterns. The highest point in Ethiopia is Ras Dashen at 4,620m (15,157ft) and the lowest point is Dalol in Denakil desert at 125m (410ft) below sea level.

Climate Due to the topography Ethiopia has an extremely varied climate, from cool to very cold in the highlands to one of the hottest places on earth at the Dalol Depression in the Danakil Desert.

Major languages There are more than 80 spoken languages Oromo 32.1%, Amara 30.1%, Tigraway 6.2%, Somalie 5.9%, Guragie 4.3%, Sidama 3.5%, Welaita 2.4%, other 15.4% English is the major foreign language taught in schools.

Major religions Christian 60.8% (Orthodox 50.6%, Protestant 10.2%), Muslim 32.8%, traditional 4.6%, other 1.8% (1994 census)

Age structure 0-14 years: 46% (male 18,922,334/female 19,017,593) 15-64 years: 51.4% (male 20,749,002/female 21,656,509) 65 years and over: 2.7% (male 947,323/female 1,252,077) (2008 est.)

Life expectancy 52 years (men), 54 years (women) (UN)

Monetary unit 1 Birr = 100 cents online currency converter

Main exports Coffee, hides, oilseeds, beeswax, sugarcane

GNI per capita US $220 (World Bank, 2007)

Calendar Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which consists of twelve months of thirty days each and a thirteenth month of five days, six days in a leap year. (Hence, the popular Ethiopian Tourism Commission slogan of "Thirteen Months of Sunshine!"). The calendar is about eight years behind the Western (Gregorian) calendar. The Ethiopian New Year begins on the first day of the month of Meskerem, which falls on September 11th on the Gregorian calendar.

Time Ethiopia is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The 12-hour clock is sometimes used locally and this can be confusing to visitors. The first cycle starts with "one" at 7 A.M. and goes on to "twelve" at 6 P.M. The second cycle starts at 7 P.M. with "one" and goes on to 6 A.M. at "twelve."

Ardipithecus ramidus fossils were discovered in Ethiopia's harsh Afar desert