11 Nov 2015

With an estimated population of some 70,000,000 inhabitants, Ethiopia is one of the most populated countries on the continent rendering it a significant demographic power in the continent. Ethiopia is the tenth largest country in Africa with a surface area of 1,194,000 square kilometers (461,003 square miles) lying in eastern Africa, between the equator and the tropic of Cancer, in a region known as the Horn of Africa. It is landlocked, bordered by five countries.

 

It was home to the most ancient kingdom in Africa, one of the monarchies in the world. It is the sole African country to possess alphabets more than 2,000 years old and the only country on the continent to have maintained independence in the face of European colonizers.

Its name is derived from the Greek “Aithiopia” which means “Land of burnt faces”. In antiquity, its name referred to the territories south of the empire of the Pharaohs . It was also known in Europe as Abyssinia, a term coming from the Arabic “Habashat”, which referred to one of the tribes south of Arabia which immigrated to Ethiopia at the beginning of its history. If there is anything that can define this country, it is without doubt the ethnic groups, languages, religions, geography, climate, fauna and flora. This diversity may be due to Ethiopia’s isolation, a possible result of the characteristics of its great central massif. Here, tall and craggy lands alternate with deep valleys, creating inaccessible territories which have served historically as a defense, and have contributed to the variety within the country.

Ethiopians have their own way of telling time; the first hour of the day corresponds with the rising of the sun and the last hour of the day is around sunset. The day is divided into two parts, each lasting 12 hours. Six O’clock international time is actually 12 O’clock Ethiopian time. Internationally Ethiopia is considered three hours from the Greenwich Meridian, and does not undergo any time changes throughout the year. Its location near the equator allows Ethiopia nearly twelve hours of sunlight during any season.

The calendar is another unique feature - it has 13 months. Using the Julian calendar, Ethiopia has 12 lunar months of 30 days, plus one month of five or six days, depending on the leap year. The Julian calendar began 7 years and 113 days after the Christian age, making the first day of the New Year September 11.

This land of contrasts boasts snow capped peaks and Torrid desserts, fresh and salt water lakes, high plateaux and plains, lush green landscapes and barren ones, with rivers such as the Abay with lovely blue waters tumbling over impressive waterfalls or earth-colored rivers as the Omo, whose banks are bordered by dense forest of acacias.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 13:25

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