ETHIOPIA AT A GLANCE

 

LOCATION AND AREA: Located in the ‘horn of Africa’, lying between 3.5 and 15 degree North and 33 and 48 degree east, Ethiopia shares its longest border with Somalia to the east, and it is also bounded by Eritrea and Djibouti to the northeast, Kenya to the south, and Sudan and the South Sudan to the west. With 1,104,300 km area, it is 27th largest in the world and tenth largest in Africa.

CLIMATE: There are two distinct seasons in Ethiopia. The dry season prevails from October through May; the wet season runs from June to September, but there is also a short rainy season in March or April, especially toward southern Ethiopia, and rain can happen at any time of the year. However, even during the long rainy season, bright, warm sun usually breaks through the clouds.   

TOPOGRAHPY: Ethiopia is a land of rugged mountains, broad savannahs, and many lakes and rivers.  It is composed of an elevated central plateau generally varying in height from 2000m to 3000m. In the north and centre of the country, there are up to 25 mountains whose peaks rise over 4000m, the tallest being  Ras Dashen, which is 4,543m in elevation.

There are also a number of rivers, the most famous being Blue Nile [locally known as Abay], which runs a course of 1,450 km from its source at Lake Tana [around Bahrdar and Gondar towns], to join the White Nile in Khartoum.   
On the other extreme, the Danakil [or Dallol] Depression is a geological depression, which is  officially the hottest place on earth , with more than 100m below sea level and a temperature 45-50 Oc.  It is an area with more than 30 active or dormant volcanoes.  

PEOPLE: Ethiopia, with a population of up to 93.8 million is estimated the second most populous nation in Africa, next to Nigeria.

PREDOMINAT RELIGIONS: The peaceful existence of Christianity and Islam, the two major religions in Ethiopia, which entered the country near their times of founding, demonstrates the hospitality of the country.  Both entered in what is now Tigrai Regional State.  Axum town hosts the famous Ark of the Covenant brought from Jerusalem, and Negash town hosts the location of the oldest mosque in Africa, where the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) sent his followers to seek protection from the hostilities in Arabia in the form of temporary asylum from the then-king or Negashi of Axum, which may have been Armha.    
                
LANGUAGE: English is widely spoken throughout the country, but Amharic is the official   language.  However, being a multiethnic country, Ethiopia has 90 different spoken languages and more than 200 dialects.