The Cradle of Man
History of Ethiopia
Ethiopia has a rich history dating back before Ancient Greece and Rome, with scientists believing it is the cradle of mankind based on hominid fossils like “Lucy” and “Ardi”. Axum, a 3000 year old city, was the capital of the Queen of Sheba’s kingdom and Ethiopians believe the Ark of the Covenant was brought there by her son Menelik I. Ethiopia had strong trade links with Egypt, Greece and Rome as one of the greatest merchant nations, with the Egyptians knowing their Nile originated from a lake in “Punt”. After Axumite Empire decline, rulers included those who built Lalibela’s churches and made Gondar an artistic center, as well as Menelik II who expanded Ethiopia’s borders and defeated Italian invaders, and Haile Selassie who reigned until revolution. Historical sources evidence a rich pre-Christian kingdom ruled from Axum controlling trade routes, with its own language and coins while ancient monuments remain in churches and monasteries across the country. Modern Ethiopia is a mosaic of 80 ethnic groups coexisting in Addis Ababa, now Africa’s diplomatic capital
Bright, Colorful and Picture Perfect
Incredible Festivals & Holidays
According to legend, Menelik I, the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon, went to visit his father in Jerusalem, and he brought back to Ethiopia the Ark of the Covenant, containing the tablets God had given to Moses and is said to be still preserved in Axum. Every Ethiopian church contains a copy of the Ark of the Covenant, called “Tabot”. During some religious ceremonies these copies are hidden in heavy and colorful brocades and carried in processions.
The religious festivals of the Ethiopian Orthodox church are a highlight of the Ethiopian calendar with ceremonies held throughout the country.