Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country situated in the Horn of Africa that has been landlocked since the independence of its northern neighbor Eritrea in 1993. Apart from Eritrea to the north, Ethiopia is bordered by Sudan to the west, Kenya to the south, Djibouti to the northeast, and Somalia to the east.
Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations in the world and the third most populous nation in Africa. It has yielded some of the oldest traces of humanity, making it a candidate for the so-called “Cradle of Humanity.” It is officially the second oldest Christian nation.
The topography of Ethiopia ranges from several very high mountain ranges (the Semien Mountains and the Bale Mountains), to one of the lowest areas of land in Africa, the Danakil depression. Click here for weather today.
Historically a relatively isolated mountain empire, Ethiopia has more recently become a crossroads of global international cooperation. It became a member of the League of Nations in 1923; signed the Declaration by United Nations in 1942; was one of the fifty-one original members of the United Nations (UN); founded the UN headquarters in Africa; and (in Addis Ababa) currently hosts the headquarters of the African Union, formerly the Organization of African Unity, of which it was the principal founder.
Addis Ababa (named by Emperor Menelik II and meaning “new flower”) is the capital city. Located in the center of the country, it is subdivided into ten sub-cities. At 8000 feet above sea level, it has moderate temperatures all year and no tropical diseases.
Addis has been growing at a rapid rate, but still retains much of its historical past in its architecture and culture. The city has world-class hotels, as well as an abundance of small hotels and guest houses. Restaurants serve the wonderful national cuisine, but almost every other international food can also be found.
Amharic is the official language. English is the most widely spoken foreign language and is the medium of instruction in secondary schools. Ethiopia has its own alphabet.
The Ethiopian calendar differs significantly from the Western version. It is 8 years behind the Gregorian calendar. The first month of the year is September. There are 12 months of 30 days each, with the 5 or 6 days that remain at the end of the year considered as their own month, hence the Ethiopian Tourist Organization slogan, ”Thirteen months of sunshine.”
Exchange rate changes daily but is usually about one US Dollars = 16.35and one Euro=21.025