Ethiopia Destinations Travel Guide

Flag of Ethiopia

Language: Amharic

Currency: Birr (ETB)

Calling call: 251


Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, formerly known as Abyssinia, is a landlocked country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second most populous country in Africa after Nigeria. It borders on the north with Eritrea, on the northeast with Djibouti, on the east with Somalia, on the south with Kenya and on the west with Sudan and South Sudan.

Ethiopia is the only case among African countries that has never been colonized, maintaining its independence during the partition of Africa, except for a period of five years (1936-1941), when it was under Italian occupation. It is also the second oldest nation in the world to adopt Christianity as the official religion after Armenia. However, it was the first kingdom to adopt Christianity, being a monarchy of Israelite origin. In addition, Ethiopia was a member of the League of Nations, signed the United Nations Declaration in 1942, founded the UN headquarters in Africa, was one of the 51 original members of that organization and is one of the founding members of the former Organization for African Unity and current African Union, during the government of negus Haile Selassie I. Its capital, as well as its largest and most populated city, is Addis Ababa. With the independence of Eritrea in 1993, Ethiopia lost its exit to the sea.


Travel Destinations in Ethiopia

Awash National Park

Awash National Park is a protected reserve in Afar Region in central Ethiopia. It is situated 225 km South of Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.


Axum is a major city in the Northern Ethiopia and a former capital of the Aksum Kingdom. Ethiopians believe that Chapel of the Tablet in Axum is a last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.

Bale Mountains National Park

Bale Mountains National Park is a biosphere preserve in Oromia Region in South Central Ethiopia. You can get here by taking a bus from Addis Ababa, Ethiopian capital, to Robe, largest city in the region.

Blue Nile Falls

Blue Nile Falls is a natural formation situated on the Blue Nile River in Northern Ethiopia. It flows 19 miles (30 km) down the stream of Bahir Dar and lake Tana.


Gondar is a historic town and a former old imperial capital in a Amhara Region of Ethiopia.


Lalibela is famous for its monolithic Ethiopian Orthodox churches carved from the solid rock in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia.

Mago National Park

Mago National Park is situated in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region of South West Ethiopia. The largest city of Jinka is located about 35 km North East of the park entrance.

Nechi Sar National Park

Nechi Sar National Park also known as Nechisar National Park is a protected area in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Regions in the South West Ethiopia.

Omo National Park

Omo National Park is one of the last regions in Ethiopia untouched by the activity of civilization. It protects natural reserve around Omo River valley.

Simien Mountain National Park

Simien Mountains National Park is a nature reserve in Amhara Region in Ethiopia. This national park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.





History of Ethiopia

Prehistoric time
The Ethiopian Highlands has been a habitat for people since ancient times, as evidenced by the remains of Australopithecus in the Omo Valley and the sites of the Olduvai culture in southern Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Highlands are the alleged center of the formation of the Ethiopoid anthropological type, Cushitic languages ​​and one of the most ancient centers of agriculture.

Ancient history
In the VI - V centuries BC. e. immigrants from various regions of South Arabia, including from the Sabean kingdom, settled on the Tigre plateau. They brought with them writing, Semitic language, the technique of stone building using the dry masonry method and other achievements of civilization. Mingling with the local population, they formed an ancient Ethiopian ethnos.

In the V century BC e. an independent kingdom of Dʿmt was formed on the Tigre plateau, which disintegrated in the 4th century BC. e.

In the first centuries AD e. in the north of modern Ethiopia, the early feudal kingdom of Axum arose. Its main port, Adulis, has become a major trading center on the way from Egypt to India, as well as to the shores of East Africa.

During the heyday of the Axumite kingdom, in the 4th-6th centuries, its hegemony extended to Nubia, South Arabia, as well as vast areas of eastern Sudan, the Ethiopian highlands and the northern part of the Horn of Africa.

From the 4th century, Christianity began to spread in the kingdom of Aksum.

The rise in the 7th century of the Arab caliphate led to the decline in the 8th-9th centuries of the kingdom of Axum.

Middle Ages
From the 9th century, Islam began to spread in the northern outskirts of the Ethiopian Highlands. The Muslim principalities that arose there monopolized foreign trade.

In the first half of the 11th century, the kingdom of Axum fell apart. On the territory of present Ethiopia, many principalities arose: Muslim, Christian, Jewish, pagan.

In the XII century, the Christian principalities united under the rule of Flippers. The kingdom established ties with Egypt and Yemen, and the rise of the economy and culture began. In 1268 (or 1270), the Solomon dynasty came to power, claiming to be descended from the biblical king of ancient Israel, Solomon. Its founder was Yakuno Amlak (1268–1285). Emperor Amde Tsyon I (1314–1344) subjugated the Christian, Jewish, pagan and Muslim principalities of the Ethiopian highlands and created a vast power.

Emperor Yishak (1414-1429) imposed a tribute not only to Muslim states, but also to pagan kingdoms in the south of the Ethiopian Highlands. Emperor Zara Yaikob (1434-1468) during his reign waged a struggle to strengthen the central authority, replaced all vassal princes and replaced them with imperial governors of their daughters and sons, and then replaced them with officials. In 1445, Zara Yaikob defeated the Sultanate of Yifat, several other Muslim principalities, establishing hegemony in this part of North-East Africa. Relations with Egypt and Yemen were strengthened, and contacts were established with Western Europe.

Around 1487, the Portuguese expedition, due to the large number of Christians (mostly Orthodox), recognized Ethiopia as the legendary "kingdom of presbyter John", rumors of which circulated throughout Europe since the 12th century.

At the beginning of the 16th century, the eastern neighbor and old enemy, the Adal Sultanate, began a fierce war against the Ethiopian Empire. Imam Ahmed ibn Ibrahim, nicknamed Gran (Left-handed), proclaimed jihad and between 1529-1540 conquered almost the entire territory of the Ethiopian Empire. But after the death of Emperor Lebne-Dyngyl, his son Emperor Galaudeuos (1540–1559) managed to unite the forces of large Ethiopian feudal lords and expel Muslims. The Ethiopians also helped the Portuguese. Ahmed Gran was killed in battle, and the Sultanate Adal ceased to exist. In 1557, the Turks captured Massawa and other ports on the Red Sea. In the same period, an offensive against the weakened Ethiopia of the Cushite Oromo tribes begins.

In the same period, Jesuits appeared in Ethiopia. Their penetration, together with the desire of the emperors to create an absolute monarchy on the European model, led to several religious wars, especially when the emperor Susnyos (1607-1632) adopted Catholicism. These wars ended with the reign of Emperor Fasiledes (1632–1667). He expelled the Jesuits from Ethiopia and ended relations with the Portuguese.

Emperor Iyasu I the Great (1682-1706) again subjugated the rebel vassal princes, tried to reform the government, and streamlined the system of customs and duties for the development of trade.

However, from the end of the 18th century, feudal fragmentation intensified in Ethiopia. Each large (and even medium) feudal lord had his own army. The feudal lords took taxes from peasants who lived in a communal way. Craftsmen were considered a lower caste, and the merchants (mainly Arabs, Turks, Armenians) were associated with higher feudal strata of clientele relations. The middle strata included military settlers, parish clergy, and wealthy citizens. The nobility had servant slaves, and slavery was also widespread in the nomadic communities.


XIX century
In the middle of the 19th century, the small feudal lord Kassa Hailu from Quara began the struggle for the unification of Ethiopia. Relying on small-scale feudal lords, he defeated the race Ali in 1853, then defeated the ruler of the Tigre region, race Uybe, after stubborn battles. In 1855, Cassa proclaimed himself emperor under the name Theodros II.

Theodros II waged a decisive struggle against feudal separatism. A regular army was created, the tax system was reorganized, the slave trade was banned, part of the land was taken from the church, the remaining possessions were taxed. The number of internal customs was reduced, the construction of strategic military roads began, and European experts were invited to Ethiopia.

However, the introduction of taxes on the clergy led to a conflict with the church, which raised the feudal lords to fight against the emperor. By 1867, the power of Theodros II extended only to a small part of the country. In the same year, a conflict arose with Great Britain, provoked by the arrest in Ethiopia of several subjects of the British crown. In October 1867, a corps of British troops numbering more than 30 thousand people landed in Ethiopia, including support personnel from the Indians. The army of Emperor Theodros II numbered by this time no more than 15 thousand people.

The only battle between the Ethiopians and the British in an open field took place on April 10, 1868: 2 thousand British defeated 5 thousand Ethiopians due to superior discipline and armament. After that, Theodros II tried to make peace, freeing the arrested and sending a lot of cattle as a gift to the British. However, the British rejected the world and began the assault on Makdela fortress, where the emperor was. Not wanting to surrender, Theodros II committed suicide. The British took Makdela, destroyed all Ethiopian artillery, took the imperial crown as a trophy, and in June 1868 left the territory of Ethiopia.

After the death of Theodros II, the war for the throne began. Thekle Guyorgis II (1868–1871) was defeated by Johannes IV (1872–1889). In 1875, the troops of Egypt invaded Ethiopia. In November 1875, the Ethiopians managed to defeat the main group of Egyptian forces at the Battle of Gundet. However, in December 1875, Egypt landed a new expeditionary force in Massawa. In March 1876, the Ethiopians managed to defeat him at the Battle of Gur. Peace was concluded between Ethiopia and Egypt in June 1884, and Ethiopia gained the right to use the port of Massawa.

In 1885, Emperor Johannes IV launched a war against the Mahdist Sudan. In 1885-1886, the Ethiopian troops defeated the Sudanese, but at this time the occupation of the northern regions of Ethiopia by Italy began. The fighting between the Ethiopians and Italians went with varying success.

In 1888, Emperor Johannes IV offered peace to Sudan. However, Caliph Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Taish put forward an unacceptable condition - the adoption of Islam by Johannis. At the beginning of 1889, Johannes IV personally led the 150,000th army to Sudan and in March 1889 was mortally wounded in a battle on the border.

The new emperor Menelik II (1889-1913) suppressed separatism in Gojama and the Tigris, recreated a single Ethiopian state. In 1889, the Uchchali Treaty was concluded between Italy and Ethiopia, according to which Menelik recognized the transition to the Italians coastal areas.

In 1890, Italy consolidated all its possessions on the Red Sea into a colony of Eritrea, announcing that Ethiopia recognized the protectorate of Italy over itself under the 1889 treaty. This forced Ethiopia to resume hostilities against Italy in 1894, especially since Ethiopia had a reliable ally in the struggle for independence in the person of Russia after the mission of V.F. Mashkov.

At the end of 1894, Italian troops occupied the cities of Addi-Acne, Addi-Grat and Adua. By October 1895, Italians occupied the entire Tigre region. Emperor Menelik sent an army of 112,000 against the Italians, formed from units of rulers of Ethiopian provinces. On December 7, 1895, at the battle of Amba-Alagi, Ethiopian troops under the command of the race Mekonnyn Walde-Michael (father of the future emperor Haile Selassie) inflicted a major defeat on the Italian troops.

Emperor Menelik II proposed the peace of Italy. Ethiopia has taken additional measures: the diplomatic demarche of the demonstrative non-recognition of the Uchchalsky treaty, sending a diplomatic mission led by cousin Menelik II race Damtou to Russia. The Italians refused to make peace, and the war resumed. On March 1, 1896, the battle of Adua took place, in which the Italians were completely defeated.


In 1893-1899, Menelik II established the modern borders of Ethiopia, having conquered a number of areas south and southwest of Addis Ababa - Walamo, Sidamo, Kafa / Kaffa, Gimir and others. Thus, the Ethiopian armed forces practically stopped the advancement of the British colonial empire in Africa. Ethiopia withstood the pressure of Great Britain, ending with the choice of another object for the British attack in southern Africa and the beginning of the second Boer War. It should be noted the enormous positive significance of the help of Russian military advisers and volunteers in the period 1893-1913.

Menelik II issued a decree restricting and abolishing slavery, allowing only prisoners of war to be slaves for a period of not more than 7 years. Under Menelik II, roads were built, a telegraph and a telephone appeared, and trade developed. In his reign in Ethiopia, the first hospital opened (a Russian military hospital to help the wounded under Adua), the first newspaper appeared. In 1897, Menelik II established diplomatic relations with Russia.

First half of the 20th century
In 1913, Menelik II died. His 17-year-old grandson Lij Iyasu under the name Iyasu V. became the emperor. Ethiopia did not formally participate in the First World War, but Iyasu V pursued a course towards rapprochement with Germany, hoping to rely on it in the fight against the British, French and Italians.

In September 1916, Iyasu V was overthrown. The 40-year-old daughter of Menelik II Zaudita (the aunt of the ousted emperor) was declared empress, and the regent, that is, the de facto ruler, was the 24-year-old Tefari Makonnyn. Prior to this, he, one of the youngest sons of the race of Makonnen, from the age of 16 was the governor of the Sidamo region, then the Harare region. After the 1916 coup, Tefari Makonnyn received the title of races (roughly corresponds to the prince), and is now revered by fans as the God of Rastafari.

After the death in November 1930 of the Empress Zaouditu, the Race of Tefari was crowned as Emperor Haile Selassie (1930-1975).

In 1931, he promulgated the first Ethiopian constitution. The absolute power of the emperor was established at the deliberative parliament with the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. It was planned to completely abolish slavery within 15-20 years.

In 1934-1935, armed clashes occurred on the border with Italian possessions. In October 1935, troops of fascist Italy invaded Ethiopia. For several months, the Ethiopian troops showed fierce resistance, sometimes achieving individual successes. However, on March 31, 1936, the main forces of the Ethiopian army were defeated at Mai Chow. On May 5, 1936, Italian troops under the command of Marshal Badoglio entered the capital of Addis Ababa. King of Italy Victor Emmanuel III was proclaimed emperor of Ethiopia.

The Italian occupation of the country continued until the spring of 1941, when the British army, with the support of auxiliary forces recruited from the African colonies, liberated Ethiopia and occupied other Italian possessions on the Horn of Africa.