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Located on the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia is a landlocked country. Among the most beautiful countries in Africa, Ethiopia is known for its dramatic landscapes, peerless history, and majestic wildlife. The country offers an array of natural features and boasts diverse picturesque terrain including deserts, highlands, lakes, canyons, volcanoes, plateaus, and savannahs. Nature lovers here must explore the Danakil Depression, Simien National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Bale Mountains National Park, Blue Nile Falls, Lake Tana, Erta Ale, Omo National Park and River. A place of ancient culture, the country is lined with historical, architectural, and archaeological landmarks, some of which date back to more than three million years. Ethiopia is home to multiple UNESCO World Heritage Sites, namely, Aksum, Fasil Ghebbi, Harar Jugol (the fortified historic town), Konso Cultural Landscape, Lower Valley of the Awash, Lower Valley of the Omo, Rock-Hewn Churches, and Tiya. The country is home to several cultural institutions and hosts popular festivals such as Enkutatash (New Year), Meskel (Finding of the True Cross), Debra Damo (Feast of Saint Aregawi), and Timkat Festival. To explore beyond Ethiopia’s bustling cities, visitors can head over to charming towns of Axum, Bahir Dar, Harar, and Mekelle.
Popular Destinations in Ethiopia
Capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa is a sprawling city bordering the Great
Rift Valley. The city is the country’s cultural and commercial hub. The
neo-barqoue Holy Trinity Cathedral is emblematic of the city. The
copper-domed cathedral is an architectural marvel and burial place of
emperor Haile Selassie. In the city center, visitors will find major
attractions, such as the Piazza District, which is known for its jazz
clubs, and the popular Meskel Square. The open-air Merkato brims with
vendors selling handicrafts, coffee, and spices. Other major landmarks in
Addis Ababa are the Grand Anwar Mosque, St. George’s Cathedral, Yekatit 12
Square, Medhane Alem Cathedral, Monument to the Lion of Judah, and Derg
Monument. Addis Ababa is lined with several museums, cultural institutions,
parks, and performing art venues such as Ethnological Museum, "Red Terror"
Martyrs' Memorial Museum, St. George Gallery, Gulele Botanical Garden,
National Archaeological Museum of Ethiopia, Africa Park, Zoological Natural
History Museum, and Hager Fikir Theatre.
A town in the Amhara region, in northern Ethiopia, Lalibela is famed for
its distinctive 12th century rock-cut churches. A pilgrimage
site for Coptic Christians, these monolithic churches include Bete Giyorgis
and Bete Medhane Alem. Carved out of rock, many are connected via trenches
and tunnels, and some house coloured frescoes and carved bas-reliefs.
Visitors will find here several traditional cylindrical houses with
thatched roofs. The main square is dotted with stalls selling jewelry,
textiles, and other handicrafts. North of the city, history enthusiasts
would love to explore Yemrehanna Kristos, a hillside cave with a
timber-and-stone church built in the ancient style of the Kingdom of Aksum.
East of the city is located the grand Asheton Maryam Monastery.
Located in northern Ethiopia, Gondar is known for the walled Fasil Ghebbi
fortress city, former seat of Ethiopian emperors. Fasil Ghebbi is a UNESCO
World Heritage Site and has elements of different architectural styles
including Nubian. Dominating it is the grandiose 17th century
castle of Emperor Fasilide. The castle is an architectural landmark which
combines Indian, Portuguese, and Ethiopian architectural styles. Other
historic landmarks in Gondor are the Bath of Fasilides, and Ras Mikael
Sehul's Palace. Nature lovers can go further northeast to the Simien
Mountains National Park, which has umpteen hiking trails and is home to
endangered Gelada baboons and Walia ibex goats.
Best Time to Visit Ethiopia
The best time to take Ethiopia flights is from November to early April when the weather is pleasant for sightseeing and outdoor activities. For those who wish to avoid crowds and get economical flights, March and September are the ideal months to take cheap flights to Ethiopia.
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