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Ethiopia's World / የኢትዮጵያ ዓለም

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Posts Tagged ‘Tourism’

The Most ‘Photographed’ Cities In The World According To Google

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on March 20, 2014

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Google a heat map showing the world’s most photographed places in the world based on the photos uploaded via Google’s Panoramio. It hooks up the images with locations in Google Earth and Google maps. The results of the algorithms and the heat map itself can be seen in Sightsmap.

You can even begin planning a trip with the map by selecting a starting point and destination, which brings up estimated travel time and links to travel sites.

The smart markers feature automatically features the top 10 places and more places can be seen by toggling the places menu. Rankings can be seen according to the visible area.

The most-photographed areas are highlighted in yellow on the map with the next-in-rank filled in color orange, then pink and purple last.

New York is the most photographed city in the world, according to The Daily Mail, with “more images of New York landmarks and scenes have been uploaded via Panoramio than any other city.” Following in the list are the cities of Rome, Barcelona, Paris and Istanbul.

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Unique Ethiopia

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on October 21, 2010

 

 

For many people around the world, mentioning Ethiopia brings to mind its devastating 1984 famine. The specter of the disaster haunts the country’s international image and still hurts the growth of its fledgling tourism industry.

But here’s the reality that awaits those few adventurous visitors who do make the trip: A high plateau of lush, green hills that’s more like Scotland than the desert; decadent nightlife in Addis Ababa; and historic sites like the island monasteries of Lake Tana and Lalibela, a remarkable complex of 12th-century churches.

In addition, Ethiopia’s wildlife parks are teeming with game, but unlike Kenya, where packs of tourists compete for a glimpse of lions, here you might have the animals all to yourself.

Traveling in Ethiopia, however, can be uniquely disorienting. Ethiopians insist on doing things their own way. They have their own calendar – with 13 months; their own year – it’s currently 2003; and their own time – 6 a.m. is their midnight. The national language, Amharic, has Semitic roots, like Arabic and Hebrew, and a unique alphabet. (Rest assured, English is widely spoken.) Roughly two-thirds of the people are Ethiopian Orthodox – a creed with its own rites, different from those of the Russian or Serbian Orthodox churches – while a third is Muslim.

A trip to Ethiopia, then, is less like a sojourn in Africa than a visit to some far-flung island, where everything is strange and compelling.

You’ll need a couple of weeks to even begin to do justice to this sprawling country – bordered on the north by Sudan, on the south by Kenya and Somalia and on the east by Djibouti and Eritrea, which gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year guerrilla war.

Roads are generally poor, and it can take long hours or even days to travel several hundred miles overland – particularly in the April-September rainy season. Luckily, Ethiopian Airlines – widely considered Africa’s premier carrier – operates flights from the capital, Addis, to the main must-see sites, including Lalibela.

Addis is a sprawling city of congested thoroughfares and hidden residential neighborhoods with narrow streets that dissolve into thick mud every time it rains, and it can seem a dismal place to start an Ethiopian sojourn. But resist the temptation to flee and the city will open to you, revealing scores of cute cafes, hot nightspots, chill lounges and gourmet restaurants.

Top suggestions include Eyoha or Fasika national restaurants, where remarkably athletic dancers showcase the country’s unique shoulder-shaking traditional dance styles as diners tuck into heaping plates full of local delicacies.

Ethiopian cuisine, which is heavy on sauces and served on spongy crepe-like bread called injera, leaves no one indifferent. You either love it or you hate it. Love it, and you can eat like a king, splurging on multi-dish meals of wot, a sauce of goat or lamb, and kifto, marinated raw meat. Made from an Ethiopian grain called tef, injera is eaten at every meal and also serves as cutlery, used to scoop up the juicy sauces.

Hate it, and you stand a good chance of shedding some serious weight. Besides a dozen top-notch places in Addis, restaurants serving foreign cuisine are few and far between. Order the spaghetti marinara in some provincial town, like I did, and you might find yourself using scraps of injera to scoop up earthworm-sized bits of cold pasta drenched in what appeared to be ketchup.

But there is some decent Italian food to be had if you know where to go. Indeed, the best foreign cuisine in Ethiopia is a result of Italy’s brief occupation of the country in the 1930s. Try Castelli, an Addis institution that has been serving up an antipasti buffet and fresh pasta for generations. Another option is the Ristorante da Bruno, which has won well-deserved acclaimed for its wood-fired pizzas.

Another legacy of the Italian presence are the coffee houses that serve up strong espressos and macchiatos. At Tomoca, you can get vacuum-packed bags of Ethiopian grown beans roasted to perfection in oversized colonial-era machines.

Vegetarians be warned: Ethiopian Orthodox adherents normally go vegetarian twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays, and fast for the 56 days preceding Ethiopian Orthodox Easter. But for the month after Easter, so-called “fasting foods,” or meat- and dairy-free dishes, are scarce.

For all-night dancing, try Club Platinum or the Gaslight, at the Sheraton hotel, where the mix of Ethiopian and R&B beats is infectious. Just be aware that at both establishments, as in other clubs across Ethiopia, most of the women on the dance floor are prostitutes.

Addis has the best shopping in the country, with a wide range of regional specialty products and styles. Try the area around Piassa for the heavy silver disc earrings from the northern Tigray region and Persian Gulf-inspired necklaces in oversized beads of silver and resin – all sold by the gram.

After a few action-packed days in Addis, you’ll be ready to hit the road.

Most visitors head north to visit Ethiopia’s tourist triumvirate – Bahir Dar, Aksum and Lalibela, the crown jewel. Ethiopian Airlines sells multi-leg tickets from Addis with stops at each site.

A winding complex of 11 churches cut out of the rust-red granite tucked into a wind-swept moonscape, Lalibela is frankly astounding. Legend claims it’s the work of angels but in reality the complex was commissioned by the powerful 12th-century King Lalibela and picked out of the rock with hammers and chisels over decades.

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Ethiopia: A Feast for the Eyes

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on August 15, 2009

Geralta

Go there soon; it’s time to turn Ethiopia’s image from one of famine to feast.”

Ethiopia will surprise even the most jaded traveler. As the only African country never colonized (the Italians only ‘occupied’ what was then Abyssinia during the Second World War), Ethiopians proudly call themselves ‘pure’ Africans. With its own calendar (seven years and eight months behind our own), year length (13 months), clock (12-hour cycles starting at 6am), and an ancient language — Amarhic — not spoken anywhere else, Ethiopia and its people are strikingly idiosyncratic.


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Five great things to do in Ethiopia

  1. Be mystified by the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Once rumored to be hidden in Ireland’s Hill of Tara, the ancient Lost Ark of the Covenant is now said to be held in Axum’s (Aksum) Cathedral of St Mary of Zion in northern Ethiopia. Closely guarded by sacred priests, the Ark is Ethiopia’s Holy Grail.

  2. Go wildlife-spotting in the north. Indigenous Gelada baboons, Ethiopian wolves, Walia ibex and spotted hyena live in the Simien Mountains. There are hippopotamus hang-outs near Lake Tana, plus colorful birdlime.

  3. Wander through the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. An easy candidate for a new wonder of the world, this sacred system of enormous churches carved directly into the rock is an outstanding example of man conquering nature to worship.

  4. Stand cheek-to-cheek with the first human. If you had to pinpoint the place where our prehistoric ancestors finally walked upright on two feet, it would fall somewhere in modern-day Ethiopia. See the proof in Addis’s National Museum, where the 3.3 millon-year-old skeleton of ‘Lucy’ is on display. (The skeleton was named Lucy in tribute to the song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, which was playing in the discoverers’ camp.)

  5. Sizzle in the hottest place on Earth. With an average temperature of 35°C, the Danakil Depression, close to the border with Eritrea, is the lowest point on the African continent at 116m below sea level. Access is impossible without private transport.

Please click here to see some fantastic photos of Ethiopia

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