Ethiopia - Salt and Fire

Ethiopia - Salt and Fire

Ethiopia is an African country, located on the eastern part of the continent. It is landlocked and borders Somalia – to the east and southeast, Djibouti – to the east, Eritrea – to the northeast, Sudan and South Sudan to the northwest and southwest, as well as Kenya to the south.

Ethiopia is among the biggest countries in Africa - # 10 in the list, and 27th place on the list of largest countries by territory in the World - with over 1.1 million square kilometers.

Its population is also one of the world’s biggest: 102 million people, making it #12 in the list, standing just between Japan and the Phillipines. That makes it the 2nd most populous country on the African continent, and the most populous landlocked country in the world!

Capital city of Ethiopia is Addis Ababa, with population of more than 2 million people. Its name translates as “White flower”, and is located on 2400m. above sea level – what makes it the 4th highest located capital in the world !
It lies just a bit north of the Equator, and its geographical features are quite diverse. A major portion of its territory is a massive complex of plateaus and highlands, divided by the famous Great Rift Valley. Highest point in Ethiopia is Ras Dashen in the Semien mountains – 4620m. above sea level, while the lowest is the Afar depression – 125m below the surface of the Earth. On the northeast and southeast, it is surrounded by fertile lowlands.

Agriculture is quite important for Ethiopia’s GDP: contribution to it is almost 50%. Most popular culture is the local grains- teff, as well as wheat, barley and oats. Other cultures that are grown in Ethiopia’s farming regions are lentils, chickpeas, beans. Coffee, that is native to Ethiopia, is its most exported single stock. Aside of that, there is also different oilseeds, beeswax, sugarcane. The country has one of the largest livestock populations in Africa – more than 50 million – mainly goats and sheep, cows, also horses, donkeys, chicken.

Tourism is more or less also important for Ethiopia’s economy – country has a lot to offer, especially to the adventure seekers. One of the driest, hottest, probably most hostile place on Earth – Danakil desert. It is a place, where local people have collected (and still do – the old-fashion way) salt since thousands of years, and as the Egyptian historians wrote, “the salt blocks were once bartered for gold”. It’s located in the northeastern part of the country –famous for its extreme heat (very often exceeding 50 °C), total lack of rain (less than 1 inch per year), and of course – volcanoes.

The most active one in Ethiopia is here – Erta Ale. In translation from the local languages it means “smoking mountains”, and the southernmost part of it is called by the locals “gateway to Hell”.

Except of these geological sights, Ethiopia has many archeological, historical and religious sites of world importance – including the 12th century Lalibela Church Complex – one of the 9 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ethiopia!

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