Ethiopia: The Roof of Africa

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS -

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!”

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