Well here are some interesting facts about Ethiopia that you probably didn't know
Adventures in Ethiopia has gathered a small but interesting information about their country. Read it, you might find it binding also for you.
- Addis Ababa is the Ethiopia’s capital city. You will be surprised when you found out that the name of the largest city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, actually means “New Flower”. No wonder the sound of it was always so pretty. Addis Ababa is at 2,400 meters above sea level, it is the 4th highest capital city in the world.
- Ethiopia’s national language is Amharic, but there are over 82 languages and 200 dialects, or variations, spoken in the country. Except for the Arabs, the Ethiopians are the only people in Africa with their own indigenous written alphabet. Actually it uses an abugida, also known as an alpha-syllabary, which consists of 209 symbols and 25 letter variants.
- Ge’ez is the ancient language, and was introduced as an official written language during the first Axumite kingdom when the Sabeans sought refuge in Axum. The Axumites developed Ge’ez, a unique script derived from the Sabean alphabet, and it is still used by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
- Ethiopian children must learn both their tribal language and the country’s official language of Amharic. They must also have a good grasp of English by the time they start secondary school. From the age of 12 onwards, all school lessons are carried out in English.
- Ethiopia is a deeply religious society. Therefore, many families and communities strongly discourage apostasy or conversion. However, there is a broad tolerance and respect of religious diversity in general. In parts of the country where there are large populations of both Christians and Muslims, churches and mosques are often situated within close proximity and relationships are peaceful.
- Tewahedo, or the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, is one of the oldest forms of Christianity in the world. It came to Ethiopia from Egypt, where Egyptians belonged to the Coptic Church. Around A.D. 330, Frumentius, the Apostle of Ethiopia, converted the Axumite king Ezana, who made Christianity the empire’s official religion. Today, 40% of Ethiopians practice Christianity.
- Ethiopia is mentioned 40 times in the Bible and it is one of the few countries mentioned in the Bible, the Koran, Homer’s Odyssey, and many other ancient books.
- The legendary Ark of the Covenant, the relic to hold the 10 Commandments, is claimed to be housed in a church in Ethiopia. Only one man (the guardian), is actually allowed to see the ark, so whether or not it is actually there remains a mystery.
- Ethiopia was the first country to accept Islam as a religion and it sheltered the Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his followers when they were being persecuted and killed by pagan Arabians. Today, 35% of Ethiopia is Muslim.
- Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I is considered the son of God among the followers of the Jamaican Rastafarianism religion. In fact, the name “Rastafari” originates from the emperor’s birthplace, Ras Tafari, which means “Prince Tafari” in Amharic. Bob Marley was one well-known Rastafarian. Although the Rastafari movement did evolve in Jamaica, it began in Ethiopia.
- When Ethiopians greet each other, they shake hands and gently knock their shoulders together, which is known as the “fighters’ salute” and traditionally was used as a greeting between those who fought in the Derg, the warrior group that came to power following the coup of Haile Selassie.
- Ethiopia ranks as the 5th poorest country in the world. Almost two-thirds of the Ethiopian populations lives on less than US$1 a day.
- Ethiopians have one of the lowest life expectancies in the world. Current figures estimate that women can expect to live for about 50 years, and men for about 48 years.
- Ethiopia is about 7.5 years behind the United Kingdom. This is because Ethiopia is the only country in the world to have 13 months in a year. The 13th month has only five days, or six in a leap year. Ethiopians also celebrate New Year in 11 of September.
- Ethiopians measure time from when the sun rises and count time on the opposite side of the clock. When the sun rises at 6 o’clock it is said to be 12 o’clock – the start of the day in Ethiopia. Confused? Don’t worry, you get used to it after a few days!
- The Danakil Depression in Ethiopia is home to the lowest point on Earth – about 116m below sea level. The Dallol hydrothermal field is 48 meters below sea level, and it is also the hottest place on Earth.
Market days in the Omo valley
Adventures in Ethiopia advice to best visited the markets at Omo valley between 10.30 am and 3 pm.
Notable markets include the following:
- Arbore on Monday – Arbore and Tsemay tribe,
- Dimeka on Tuesday and Saturday – Banna, Bashada, Hamer, Karo and Tsemay tribe,
- Jinka on Tuesday and Saturday – Ari, Banna, Bashada and Mursi tribe,
- Giyo on Thusday – Ari, Bacha, Dime, Mursi and Surma tribe,
- Hana Mursi on Sunday – Ari, Bacha, Dime, Mursi and Surma tribe,
- Key Afar on Thusday – Banna, Hammer and Tsemay tribe,
- Turmi on Monday and Thusday – Bashada and Hamer tribe