Time Difference: EST + 7 hours Current Time and Date in Ethiopia
Currency: Currency Converter – Ethiopian Birr (ETB)
Travel Advisory: State Department Report Ethiopia
US Embassy in Ethiopia: ethiopia.usembassy.gov
Ethiopia is located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. With over 91,000,000 inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world and the second-most populated nation on the African continent. It occupies a total area of 420,000 sq mi, and its capital and largest city is Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia is one of the oldest locations of human life known to scientists and is widely considered the region from which Homo sapiens first set out for the Middle East and points beyond. Tracing its roots to the 2nd millennium BC, Ethiopia was a monarchy for most of its history. Alongside Rome, Persia, China and India, the Kingdom of Aksum was one of the great world powers of the 3rd century.
- Visa required for all US Passport Holders, If you are not a US Passport holder, please consult the embassy in your region.
- Proof of Immunization (Yellow Fever)
Embassy of The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Official Website of the UK Embassy, London.
Embassy of Ethiopia Washington, DC
Website of the Ethiopian Embassy.
Dry Season: September to February; Average High Temperature of 79°F – Average Low of 58°F
Rainy Season: March – April/June-August; Average daily high temperature of 84°F and low of 63°F
Language: Amharic is the official language but English is widely spoken
Places of Interest
Fasilides Castle is an old castle built in 17th century for the Ethiopian emperor Fasilides Alam Sagad. The castle can be found in Gondar, Amhara Region. The castle’s structure is purely made of stone.
Ethiopian Emperor Fasilides Alam Sagad is one of the remarkable rulers in Abyssinia, the ancient name of Ethiopia. He founded the city of Gondar in 1636 which became the capital of Abyssinia, which is in the northwestern part of Ethiopia. The Gondar city during that time was one of the most significant business centers in Abyssinia. It is also home to various cultural and administrative amenities. Because of that, the city prospered and different structures were built. From time to time, castles, churches and other infrastructures were constructed. One of those is the emperor’s castle, the Fasilides Castle.
Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela
The Rock-Hewn Churches located in Lalibela, are an outstanding work of architecture for early times. The series of churches was built under the order of King Lalibela, a series of monolithic churches were built around 12th and 13th century and until now, the Rock-Hewn Churches still stand firm to continually amaze tourists around the world. It was honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.
In total, there are thirteen churches in the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela and these are grouped in four:
- Bete Medhane Alem, wherein the Lalibela Cross can be found.
- Bete Maryam, the church believed to be the oldest among the Rock-Hewn Churches.
- Bête Golgotha
- Selassie Chapel
- Tomb of Adan
- Monastery of Ashetan Maryam
- Yimrehane Kristos
- Bete Giyorgis, acclaimed to be the best well-preserved church among the series of churches.
- Bete Amanuel, believed to be the royal chapel
- Bete Merkorios
- Bete Gabriel Rufael
- Bete Abba Libanos
The Blue Nile Falls
The Blue Nile Falls are located in Ethiopian plateau, passing the Blue Nile River. This waterfall is also known as Tis Issat meaning smoking water, as the continuous dropping of water creates a smoke-like bounce of water droplets. The Blue Nile Falls has an enormous height of 37 to 45 meters or around 150 feet and its width is estimated at about half a mile. Watching the river water drop down the waterfalls is truly breathtaking.
Simien National Park
Massive erosion over the years on the Ethiopian plateau has created one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, with jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp precipices dropping some 1,500 m. The park is home to some extremely rare animals such as the Gelada baboon, the Simien fox and the Walia ibex, a goat found nowhere else in the world.
The ruins of the ancient city of Aksum are found close to Ethiopia’s northern border. They mark the location of the heart of ancient Ethiopia, when the Kingdom of Aksum was the most powerful state between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia. The massive ruins, dating from between the 1st and the 13th century A.D., include monolithic obelisks, giant stelae, royal tombs and the ruins of ancient castles. Long after its political decline in the 10th century, Ethiopian emperors continued to be crowned in Aksum.
Lower Valley of the Awash
The Awash valley contains one of the most important groupings of palaeontological sites on the African continent. The remains found at the site, the oldest of which date back at least 4 million years, provide evidence of human evolution which has modified our conception of the history of humankind. The most spectacular discovery came in 1974, when 52 fragments of a skeleton enabled the famous Lucy to be reconstructed.
Lower Valley of the Omo
A prehistoric site near Lake Turkana, the lower valley of the Omo is renowned the world over. The discovery of many fossils there, especially Homo gracilis, has been of fundamental importance in the study of human evolution.
Tiya is among the most important of the roughly 160 archaeological sites discovered so far in the Soddo region, south of Addis Ababa. The site contains 36 monuments, including 32 carved stelae covered with symbols, most of which are difficult to decipher. They are the remains of an ancient Ethiopian culture whose age has not yet been precisely determined.
Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town
The fortified historic town of Harar is located in the eastern part of the country on a plateau with deep gorges surrounded by deserts and savannah. The walls surrounding this sacred Muslim city were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. Harar Jugol, said to be the fourth holiest city of Islam, numbers 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines, but the townhouses with their exceptional interior design constitute the most spectacular part of Harar’s cultural heritage. The impact of African and Islamic traditions on the development of the town’s building types and urban layout make for its particular character and uniqueness.
Konso Cultural Landscape
Konso Cultural Landscape is a 55km2 arid property of stone walled terraces and fortified settlements in the Konso highlands of Ethiopia. It constitutes a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations (more than 400 years) adapted to its dry hostile environment. The landscape demonstrates the shared values, social cohesion and engineering knowledge of its communities. The site also features anthropomorphic wooden statues – grouped to represent respected members of their communities and particularly heroic events – which are an exceptional living testimony to funerary traditions that are on the verge of disappearing. Stone steles in the towns express a complex system of marking the passing of generations of leaders.