Ethiopia is a country in the Horn of Africa and its natural beauty, ancient history and culture, numerous ethnic groups, delicious cuisine and endemic fauna make it one of the perfect countries for travelers looking for different experiences.
Among the main attractions of the country there is undoubtedly Lalibela, the sacred city that was nicknamed the New Jerusalem; the city of Lalibela is located in the Northern part of Ethiopia and North of Addis Abeba, it is a place of pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians.
The city, included in the List of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, houses the incredible monolithic churches, carved entirely in single blocks of rock with hammers and chisels; among these the most beautiful and famous is undoubtedly Bete Giorgis, Saint George, this is also the most impressive of these cave churches, with a roof that has the shape of a cross.
Other churches include the church of Bete Medhani Alem, that is the largest monolithic church in the world.
The churches, built according to the wishes of King Lalibela, are an unmissable spectacle, together with the atmosphere full of spirituality that one breathes.
In the North-Eastern part of Ethiopia there is one of the hottest places on the planet where daytime temperatures rise up to 50 degrees Celsius: the Danakil or Danakil Depression.
In the heart of the Danakil Depression is Dallol, a magical place where salt mines and magnificent multicolored landscapes are found; here the caravans of camels carry salt and seem almost a mirage of the desert.
The Danakil Depression is also the home of one of the oldest active volcanoes in the world, Erta Ale, the night trek to admire the incandescent lava is one of the most incredible experiences that can be made in Ethiopia and allows us to understand why the Afar, tribe who lives in this region, call this place the gate of hell.
The Semien National Park is another must-see for trekking lovers, this nature reserve has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and protects a mountain range that is home to many plant species, including three endemic, 180 species of birds, five of which are endemic, among the birds of prey you can see the bearded vulture, or the lamb vulture, that, with its wingspan of over 2 meters, is a true giant of the skies that is unfortunately threatened by extinction.
In this park there are many paths that can be traveled on foot, some lead along a 3,500 meter high slope covered with bright yellow flowers.
The park also protects the beautiful Gelada baboons, characterized by a thick and very long fur; the male has a thick mane that gives it a regal appearance.
Finally here is the Southern Ethiopian wolf that, given the reduced area, is considered to be at risk of extinction.
The Bale Mountains National Park is located in South-Eastern Ethiopia and is home to some endemic animals of Ethiopia such as the mountain Nyala, the bushbuck of Menelik and above all the Northern Ethiopian wolf, this dog as well is unfortunately at risk of extinction due to the jagged area and other factors.
Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and is the source of the Blue Nile, here there are 20 secular monasteries built on the islands of the lake; they are very fascinating places to explore with their brightly colored murals depicting biblical events.
What is called the historical route includes two cities with a great past: Gondar and Axum.
Gondar, located in Northern Ethiopia, not far from Lake Tana, is a city rich in palaces, castles and churches with surprising structures; it was founded by King Fasilede in the 17th century and was the capital of Ethiopia for almost 200 years.
Here is the emperor's castle, a two-story structure that was built using brown basalt stones held together with mortar; this building has a panoramic view of Lake Tana.
In Gondar there are also the castle of Mentewab and the palaces of the emperor Iyasus and Dawit; also worth a visit is Debre Birhan Selassie or church of the light of the Trinity, famous for its murals on the ceiling.
Axum, located in Northern Ethiopia, testifies to the greatness of the ancient Axumite kingdom in the AD 6th and 7th centuries; the famous monolithic obelisks, the royal tombs and the ruins of the palace are some of the wonders that can be visited in Axum.
There are numerous obelisks that can be admired in Axum, the largest of these is over 23 meters high and is located where it fell, UNESCO defined it as follows: "the largest monolithic stele that ancient human beings have ever attempted to erect ".
In Axum there is also the Church of Our Lady of Zion or Tsion; it is believed that this church preserves one of the most sacred relics of Christianity: the Ark of the Covenant.
In Southern Ethiopia, there is one of the most pristine and fascinating corners of Africa: the Omo Valley; this region is populated by tribes who still live respecting their ancient traditions and rituals.
Not contaminated by the outside world, the tribes of the Omo Valley, with their rituals, traditional villages, various body modifications and unique hairstyles of their kind,
are some of the most traditional tribes in Africa.
These tribes are linked by a pastoral culture that identifies cattle as a true status symbol and primary source of livelihood: people belonging to these tribes dress in clothes made from animal skins, drink blood mixed with milk, even if this is a practice that has fallen a little into disuse, and the wealth of a man is judged by the number of cattle he owns.
In 1980, the Southern portion of the Omo Valley was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO following the discovery of human skeletons who lived here over 3 million years ago.
Finally, Addis Abeba, the capital of Ethiopia; here are some interesting attractions: the old city, that was founded during the Italian domination where Merkato, one of the largest markets on the continent, takes place, the various Orthodox Christian churches, including the Cathedral of St. George, the Ethiopian National Museum, that preserves, among other things, the finds from the Omo Valley, such as the skeleton of Lucy.