The interior part of Ethiopia is covered by the Ethiopian Highlands which continues further north into Eritrea. Towards the southern part of Ethiopia the highland turns into lowland. The entire highland region is separated into two segments by the Great Rift Valley which runs through the country. The Great Rift Vally starts in the Bay of Aden near Socotra Island and continues further south to Kenya.
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Back in Geological time, the highland was a major plateau, which through time has been strongly effected by erosion. Constantly, wind and precipitation is changing the landscape. The way the landscape changes is very similar to what is going on in Grand Canyon in the US.
In Ethiopian Highlands the average altitude is about 2,400 meters above sea level however significant areas lie over 3,600 m and several peaks exceeds 4,000 meters. The highest mountain is called Ras Dashen with a height of 4,620 m. 80 % of Africa’s tallest mountains are located in this highland. Generally, the geological processes has formed isolated alpine plateau peaks which contains a spectacular and unique plant and animal life. Actually many of the species are endemic to the Ethiopian Highlands (e.g. Gelada baboon which are living at the highest altitude of all primates; up to incredible 4,500 meters above sea level). Another unique animal is the Ethiopian wolf which also is endemic to the Ethiopian Highland.
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Ethiopian culture facts
The majority of the Ethiopian population lives in the highland which has been a shelter for the civilization. Additionally, the climate is wetter and more temperate in these altitudes. Due to the sheltering effect of the highland has preserve one of the world’s most distinct cultures. Ethiopia is the only African country never to have been colonize which indeed is caused by the inhospitable terrain. Another interesting fact about Ethiopia is, that it is the second country after Armenia to have adopted Christianity as its official religion. Ethiopia’s main export is coffee which is world famous.
Places to visit in Ethiopia
World historical sites: Aksum and Lalibela
Moreover, the historical sites to the north and east as Aksum and Lalibela, respectively, are world-class attractions. Both cities are Ethiopia’s holiest.
Lalibela is a former capital which contains one of Christianity’s most important sites; a series of 13th century churches carved out of rock with according to legend the help of angels. Lalibela is named after King Lalibela from the Zagwe-Dynasty who ruled the country in the 1200s. UNESCO identifies 11 churches in Lalibela and was decaled as a world heritage site back in 1978. The population in Lalibela is almost completely Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. Aksum was a leading civilization of the ancient world. The city of Aksum is known for its many buildings with magnificent decorations. Large obelisks, stelae, royal tombs and ruins of palaces. In 1980, the ruins of the ancient kingdom were designated as a World Heritage Site.
Ethiopia is a must-see destination
Ethiopia has a huge potential as a tourist destination however not many actually knows that. In the highland you find magnificent scenery and several species of mammals you not see anywhere else. It is truly a very beautiful place which can not be experienced anywhere else on Earth.