Africa > Ethiopia
13 Month of Sunshine
Ethiopia is known as the Country of 13 Months of Sunshine. One may ask, how?
The secret behind is Ethiopi-ans calendar, which is based on the Coptic Calendar
(roughly eight years behind GC) of which 12 months of 30 days each constitute
one year. The remaining 5 days or 6 days in each leap year form one shortest
month which is the thirtieth month, called Pagume in local language .This is
the very basis for Ethiopia deserving the name 13 Months of Sunshine.
Ethiopia is located in the North-Eastern part of Africa in the region of Read
Sea and Gulf of Aden. Ethiopia hosts arouifd 80 different ethnic groups who
speak about 200 dialects of languages. The country is endowed with beautiful
landscapes, rivers, endemic birds and wild animals, centuries old monuments,
monasteries, churches and mosques, and ancient architectures, among others.
Axum is an ancient settlement, next to Yeha, frequently referred to as "the
sacred city of the Ethiopians". This description that adequately sums up
its significance in national culture as a centre of Orthodox Christianity is
the most ancient city which used to serve as the capital of Ethiopia. Axum is
believed to be the seat of Queen of Sheba who ruled the nation in the 10th century
B.C and was one of the powerful empires of the world with b control over
trade routes across the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. This ancient city was known
for its rich culture and civilization.
The Monastery of Debre Damo
Coming to the other mystery of Ethiopia, we find the monastery at Debre Damo,
on which one can mount the cliff only by a rope lowered and pulled by monks
and deacons dwelling at the peak in the church. Debre Damo is unique and access
is limited to only men. The Monastery is situated in the remotest and beautiful
corner, far from the hustle and bustle of the twenty-first century, hosting
monks who have chosen to live in complete seclusion and peace; what is more,
the place hides treasures including illuminated manuscripts and intricate carvings
on the beams and ceilings.
Ahmed A1 Negash is one of the most attractive historical sights located in
northern part of the Country, Geralta of Tigray. It is a worth seeing the Muslim
Shrine. Ahmed Al Negash is believed to be the friend of Prophet Mohamed. For
Ethiopian Muslims, the Shrine is a center of pilgrimage similar to Mecca.
The Monasteries of Lake Tana
Bahir-dar: 578 kilometers from Addis Ababa, Bahir-dar town is a gate to ancient
island monasteries and the source of Blue Nile. Bahar dar port provides access
by boat to a number of historic lake-side churches and monasteries near and
far. On top of that, motor boat visitors indeed will have alternative means
of transportation, such as local canoes made of papyrus.
The spectacular feature of the Nile Falls is the other magnificent tourist
site. The Nile Falls locally known as Tis-Isat (water that smokes) located 30
km south of Bahir Dar town. Only 30 km from the lake, the Nile explodes over
Tis-Isat Falls, a sight that inspired wonder from the 18th century explorer,
Ancient churches: Lake Tana is dotted with island monasteries.
The most known churches of Lake Tana, among others, are Kibran-Gabriel, Ura-kidanemeheret,
Narga-selasie and Daga-Estifanos. Due to their isolation from the main land,
the monasteries served to exhibit the medieval treasures and relics representing
the religious, social and political image of the then Ethiopia. On the island
of Dega Estefanos, you will find the church of Saint Estefanos which has a priceless
collection of icons and manuscripts including the mummified remains of Ethiopian
emperors. Many of the these worship churches now have fascinating museums, at
which the visitor can openly see priceless illustrated manuscripts, historic
crowns and fine royal and ecclesiastical robes. Few of the monastic islands
are forbidden to women .
The castles of Gondar
Gondar is located about 748 km from Addis Ababa. The castles of King Fasil
and his predecessors dated back to the 16th century AD are magnificently built
in the city of Gondar. Around the castles are also found churches of the 16the
century, the most spectacular being Debre Berhan Selasie.
The Rock Hewn churches of Lalibela
Lalibela is located in North part of Ethiopia, Lasta. The mysterious more
than ten remarkable rock-hewn monolithic churches are curved from a single rock,
so incredible to believe that they were made by man. Each building is architecturally
unique, and several of them are decorated with fascinating rock paintings. They
were built by King Lalibela in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century.
For many Orthodox Christians the monolithic rock hewn churches are the New Jerusalem,
as a sacred centre whose root go back to man's very early years. Many believe
that the hew churches deserve to hold the status of the Eighth Wonders of the
The Wall City of Harar
Harar, which is, 525 Km away from Addis Ababa, is traditionally known as the
Walled City. Harare is fenced by stone wall with five gates, which used to be
guarded for many years. As the town's heritage is traced back to Islamic culture
it is no wonder to observe the imbed Oriental elements.
The Bale Mountains and wilderness
Among the peaks is Tulu Dimtu, with the height of 4377m above sea level, the
second highest mountain in Ethiopia. The Bale Mountains with their vast moorlands
survive three of the endemic animals: Nyala, Menelik's Bushbuck and the Simien
Semen Mountains and Wilderness
The Simien Mountain massif is a broad plateau, cut off to the north and west
by enormous single cliff over 60 km long. To the south, the table land slopes
gently down to 2,200 meters, but divided by 1,000 meters deep gorges. Ras Deshen,
at 4,620 meters, the highest peak in Ethiopia, stands there in Semen.
Within this spectacular splendor, the Walia Ibex (Abyssinian), Simian Red Fox
and Gelada Baboon - all endemic of Ethiopia retreat. What is more, the Mountain
is the home of Hamadryas baboon, Klipsprirtgei and Bushbuck.
Ethiopia hosts Great Rift Valley as well as other high land lakes: Ziway, Langano,
Shalla, Abiyata, Chamo, Debrezeit Lakes, Turkana, Tana, Ashenge Logoha, Zengena,
Wonchi, and Dendi. Few of the lakes are fed by hot mineral springs; moreover,
almost all of them are decorated with abundant wildlife especially variety of
birds such as large flocks of flamingos, pelicans, cormorants, herons, storks
and ibises. Indeed, the rift valley lakes host many of the birds and thus with
831 recorded bird species, Ethiopia is a bird watcher's paradise. On top of
that the lakes are featured by fisheries, hippos, crocodiles and natural forests,
among others. In addition to these, National Parks such as Nechisar, Mago and
Omo with their unique feature not only expose nature's beauty but also enhance
the satisfaction of tourists through out their stay.
Sof-oumar is one of the 10 sacred caves of the world located at 720 kms away
from Addis Ababa . Wit h about 16 km passage distance, it is the biggest in
Africa .Sof -oumar is an amazing in which Weyb River enters at the main entrance
and exits after nearly 1.5km at one of the 42 back doors. Look at the picture,
how breath taking it is. Neither historians nor archeologists proved whether
the cave is man-made or nature-made. Then what? Come and give your own judgment.
Maskal-The True Cross
Ethiopians celebrate the Feast of Maskel (Cross) by attributing to the finding
of the True Cross (327 AD) on which Jesus was crucified by Queen Helena, mother
of Constantine. Maskel is celebrated on the 26th and 27th of September among
Orthodox Christians who in thousands flock to a particular site. By burning
the huge demera or (chibo) (huge bundle of branches of wood and twigs) the religious
leaders play the important role during the celebration while the people watch,
pray and sing songs in unison. Remember: Ethiopians claim to have possessed
the Gimade Meskel (a part of the True Cross) which they have safely buried it
under a monastery called Gishen Mariam, one of the centers of pilgrimage located
at North West of Addis Ababa.