(Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ītyōṗṗyā)
- Location: Horn of Africa
- Capital: Addis Ababa
- Language: Amharic
- Population: 88,010,869
- Total Area: 1,133,380 sq km
- Currency: Birr
- Curious Alcohol Fact: You can consume a special wine called tej which is made from honey although coffee is far more popular in the country.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 4.01
- Most Popular Drink: Coffee
The country of Ethiopia is one that most Africans know and are always proud of, as Ethiopia is the only country that fought off colonialists and was not colonized like many other nations on the continent. Apart from that, the capital city of Addis Ababa is the headquarter of the African Union (formerly the Organization of African Unity). Landlocked, the population of Ethiopia is staggering and it is one of the most populous on the continent. All over the world, the nation is also known as the home of the coffee bean and is still a major producer of the coffee today. It is a land of wild beauty with spectacular waterfalls, breath-taking mountains and gushing rivers.
As it is large, so is its diversity of ethnic groups. Some of the principal ethnic groups in the country are the Amhara, Tigray, Oromo and the Somali. I remember vividly the Oromo lady in Addis Ababa who tried teaching me her exotic and nice-sounding language. Some of the other ethnic groups are the Guraji, Sidama, Afar and Adiya. Ethiopians are known and respected all over the world for their excellence when it comes to long-distance race. That brings to mind the legends of the track: Haile Gebreselassie, Tirunesh Dibaba and Kenenisa Bekele. Another Ethiopian that is also widely revered is the late Emperor Haile Selassie I who is the God Incarnate according to the Rastafarians like Bob Marley. I learnt all these fantastic facts when at a museum in Addis Ababa.
Eating in Ethiopia is not only a fantastic experience; it is also a learning activity as you eat with your fingers! No spoons or forks. The injera, a kind of bread,is one of the most popular dishes in the country and is made from flour and is usually served with stew. Interestingly, when I visited the neighboring Eritrea, I was also served the injera! In some places, a special kind of spicy soup called the wat is also eaten with the injera. If you are lucky to get a cook like the one that prepared mine, you will root for injera and wat at any time.
As mentioned earlier, Ethiopia is the home of coffee and there is virtually no home in the country you will enter and you will not perceive that celestial aroma of the coffee bean. By far, coffee is the most popular beverage in the country and is also exported to other parts of the globe, thereby generating income for the government. There is also a beer made locally and is called tilla. However, what I found most fascinating in Ethiopian bars are the wines made from honey! They are referred to as tej.
For me, Ethiopia has an incredible number of places to visit and many of them are centuries. However, there are some places I feel you must visit. These are the monuments of Axum, the palaces at Gondar and the churches of Lalibela.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
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