Ethiopia Country Information

Ethiopia

About Ethiopia

Ethiopia remains an enigma to many. It is an ancient land with history going back 3000 years. Its society is rich with colorful culture, of secret societies and centuries old Churches. Ethiopia retains the Julian Calendar of 13 months in a year and is said to be home of the Holy Grail of the Old Testament. The northern and central regions of the country boast some of the most magnificent mountain ranges in all of Africa. In this region alone there are over 20,4000m peaks. These ancient ranges are dramatic, with enormous gorges being gouged out by torrents of water over the millennia. They are the home of the beautiful lion like Gelada Baboon and the highest peak of Ethiopia, Ras Dejen (4563m).

Geography

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.

Politics & Security

While Ethiopia is generally stable, domestic insurgent groups, extremists from Somalia, and the heavy military buildup along the northern border pose risks to safety and security, particularly along Ethiopia’s borders and in the Somali region.
In other areas ordinary common sense precautions should be taken ie. Avoid carrying valuables obviously, do not carry too much cash, watch out for pickpockets (in busy areas – airports/markets), avoid walking around city centres at night.

Economy & Tourism

The economy of Ethiopia is based on agriculture. Tourism is a growing and important sector for Ethiopia.

Religion

Christianity and Islam are the two main religions in Ethiopia making up 45% of the population each, with other religions making up the rest. Most of the Christians belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

While visiting Churches – Shoes must be removed before entering Churches. 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.

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.

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