10 things that make Ethiopia extraordinary


What sets Ethiopia apart from its African neighbors? The excellent coffee? The fact that it was never colonized?

Or that Rastafarians regard it as their spiritual home? Or could it be the smooth, well-maintained roads, so rare on the continent, that make exploring the country by car such a joy?
After a 1,430-kilometer drive through Ethiopia’s Northern Circuit — up mountains, through Mars-like landscapes, into lost kingdoms of yore — we found 10 crucial things that define the country.

Underground churches

Lalibela‘s monolithic churches still impress nine centuries later.
Ethiopia sags under the weight of its cultural treasures, such as those at the UNESCO World Heritage site Lalibela.
In the late 12th century, Gebre Mesqel Lalibela had 13 churches — Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian nations — carved out of solid rock.
His achievement (meaning that of his stonemasons and slaves) is still incredibly impressive nine centuries on.
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