Ethiopia: The Roof of Africa
Located in northeast Africa, Ethiopia is known as the “roof of Africa” because of its vast highaltitude topography. The landlocked country is at the heart of the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan to the northwest, Eritrea to the north and Kenya to the south. Ethiopia is dominated by a rugged mass of mountains and plateaus, particularly in the mid-western regions. Two thirds of its territory is covered by highlands. The Great Rift Valley, with an average elevation of nearly 3,000 m, traverses through the country.
The area known as the East African Rift runs from the northeast to the southwest through the central Ethiopian plateau, extending from the Jordan Valley of the Dead Sea in West Asia and stretching towards the Gulf of Aqaba to the Red Sea. After arriving at Lake Abaya on the southern tip of Ethiopia, the Rift is divided into two parts and continues southward. Its terrain is extraordinarily complex, with high peaks and endless mountains of stunning beauty. The valley and lakes present breathtaking scenery. The Rift also has many volcanoes, some of which are extinct, but others of which have erupted during this century.
The history of Ethiopia, reaches far into the past. “It has more than 3,000 years of civilisation. Hamites from the southern part of Arabian Peninsula were the early residents. Now there are more than 80 ethnicities in the country,” a staff member of the Ethiopian Embassy in Beijing told reporters.
Located on the plateau at an altitude of 2,400 m, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital, is the highest city in Africa. According to the local Tigray language, The city is means “fresh flowers.” Addis Ababa is also known as Eucalyptopolis, or the City of Eucalyptus, because eucalyptus is extremely common there. The eucalyptus forests in Addis Ababa cover more than 50 sq.km, and 90 percent of the wood needed for urban construction is taken from eucalyptus trees.
“Do you know Lucy, the earliest southern ape? This skeleton of a young female ape was unearthed in Ethiopia in 1974,” a staff member said, referring to a significant discovery in the history of Ethiopian and global archaeological history. “The bones were almost complete, so we were able to establish how the ancient apes walked.” The early human fossil is now kept in the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa. Besides the National Museum, there are other cultural facilities in the capital as well such as the National Archives and Library of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Museum of Anthropology, and the Ethiopian Wild Life and Natural History Society. Additionally, Addis Ababa is the seat for the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union.
At the ‘‘Colourful World'' event, the ancient African country presented famous specialty coffee to visitors. Ethiopia leads other African countries in coffee production, with an average annual output of about 330,000 tonnes. Coffee exports account for 60 percent of Ethiopia's exports, and coffee output is about 15 percent of the world total. “Ethiopia is the origin of coffee in the world. We have not only brought Ethiopian coffee, but also brought our special coffee ceremony,” said the staff member. “It is like the tea-drinking custom and rituals in China. In Ethiopia, the ceremony is also very special.” Visitors crowded the stand during the event amid growing popularity of coffee culture amongst the Chinese public. "This coffee smells really delicious. I am going to buy two packs to try. This should be very authentic Ethiopian coffee,” said one visitor “I didn't know that there are coffee drinking rituals. It must be part of their national culture. Very interesting,'' commented another.
“The Colourful World event has involved many countries and we are truly feeling the colors and diversity of the world. We want to thank the organisers,” said embassy staff members. “We have been coming every year, and we hope more Chinese people will get to know Ethiopia and come to see our country. Welcome to you all!”