World Heritages in Ethiopia

Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela (World Heritage)

Cultural landscape of the Konso (World Heritage)

The cultural landscape is a testimony to the more than 500-year history of the Konso, who created a landscape on the edge of the Rift Valley through terracing and dry field cultivation. The terraces are supplied with an irrigation system and are connected to the villages and sanctuaries by a network of paths.

The Konso Cultural Landscape: Facts

Official title: Cultural landscape of the Konso
Cultural monument: 55 km² settlement area of ​​the Konso people in southwest Ethiopia on the Great Rift Valley; Evidence of an almost 500 year old terrace cultivation with complex water extraction techniques; 21 settlements with characteristic multiple rings surrounded by stone fortification walls; Use and preservation of protected forests for medicinal and ritual purposes and as graves for high-ranking personalities; typical wooden memorial stelae in the form of pole-shaped, painted figures for important (including living) people and for the enemies killed by the dead; megalithic complexes made of stone or wooden steles for ancestor worship
Continent: Africa
Country: Ethiopia
Location: South of Gidole, Southwest Ethiopia
Appointment: 2011
Meaning: Complex cultural landscape that has grown over centuries under difficult natural conditions; unique cultural connection of architecture, land use, spatial planning, resource use and ritual practices; the last living megalithic people in the world

Old town of Harar Jugol (World Heritage)

Harar Jugol is one of the four holy Islamic cities in the Horn of Africa. The city, which was founded in the 7th century, demonstrates the influence of Islamic culture in an otherwise Christian environment. The old town is framed by a city wall from the 13th to 16th centuries and still has five historic city gates today.

Harar Jugol Old Town: Facts

Official title: Fortified old town of Harar Jugol
Cultural monument: Holy city of the Ethiopian Muslims on a high plateau in the east of the country, for a long time the fourth holiest city in Islam; walled old town with fortifications (»Jugol«) from the 13th to 16th centuries; 82 mosques (including three from the 10th century) and 102 shrines; Large number of townhouses with impressive architecture and interior design in the African, especially Muslim (16th century), later also in the Indian style; numerous historical tombs of Muslim saints
Continent: Africa
Country: Ethiopia
Location: Harar, Harar Province (Eastern Ethiopia)
Appointment: 2006
Meaning: Unique testimony to early African-Islamic urban culture; Ensemble with extraordinary examples of Islamic architecture; outstanding example of the architectural and social characteristics of traditional forms of settlement and their harmonious embedding in the living environment

Old town of Harar Jugol: history

7th century Establishment of a Muslim settlement
16th century Appointment of Harar as the capital of the Muslim Sultanate of Adal and later of the Emirate of Harar; flourishing trading center
1875 Conquest by Egypt
1885 Development into an independent, independent city
1887 Defeat of the Emir of Harar and subsequent incorporation into the Ethiopian Empire of Sheewa
20th century Loss of commercial importance due to the construction of Dire Dawa (formerly Addis Harar, “New Harar”) and the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway line
1995 Formation of a separate Ethiopian regional state Harar with capital Harar


Semien National Park (World Heritage)

The approximately 180 km² Semien National Park in the north of the country is located in an impressive mountain landscape that reaches heights of over 4500 m. The park forms the habitat for rare animals such as gelada baboon, semien fox and Walia goat.

Semien National Park: facts

Official title: Semien National Park
Natural monument: 220 km² large Afro-Alpine National Park at an altitude of 1900 to 4620 m
Continent: Africa
Country: Ethiopia
Location: north of Addis Ababa
Appointment: 1978
Meaning: Due to massive erosion of the volcanic blanket, one of the most impressive landscapes in the world with 1500 m deep gorges and habitat of the Walia ibex, which only live here
Flora and fauna: up to 900 Walia ibex, groups of Dschelada baboons with the characteristic “blood triangle” on the chest, klipspringer, gray crown duiker and bushbuck, semien fox; among the 50 bird species arch raven, white-collar pigeon, lammergeyer, magnificent star; Giant lobelia, the Abyssinian wild rose as the only wild rose species in Africa, tree heather, “fire lily” and “giant St. John’s wort”

Where the gods played chess – the Semien National Park

According to ebizdir, Ethiopia’s landscape is shaped by the forces of primeval volcanism and plate tectonics that created a varied and wildly rugged scenery around 25 million years ago. One of the most fascinating and beautiful landscapes of Ethiopia and a product of these tremendous earth forces is the Semien Mountains National Park. It is a mountain world of unique beauty and wilderness, a mighty mountain block of volcanic origin, in whose steep relief wind, water and weather of the annual rainy seasons have dug deep furrows and ravines over the course of millions of years. Raised twice by tremendous earth forces, individual terrace steps were created here, with a height difference of up to 1000 m. Hard basalt coverings and trachyte layers alternate with soft tuffs and overlay the basic layers of granitic rocks. Unrestrained forces of erosion have mainly dissolved the plateaus on the edge of the mountains and created individual, steeply rising islands. They are core columns of volcanic eruptions, the outer walls of which have broken away. Like gigantic figures of ancient deities, they stand like monolithic giants in the landscape that Rosita Forbes described in her book “From Red Sea to Blue Nile” in 1925: “The most enchanting of all Abyssinian landscapes opened up before us when we passed one Looking across the gorge, over which a cloudy, amethyst-colored sky stretched to the Semien Mountains.

The 220 km² national park has an altitude profile of 1900 to 4620 m, the vegetation corresponds to the individual altitude levels. It ranges from tamarisks and dry thorn bushes to umbrella acacias, euphorbias and phoenix palms to towering heather trees at a height of over 2800 m and wide, savannah-like grass areas close to the rocky summit regions. Above all, the steeply sloping precipices in the north and east offer many animal species (including some that only occur here) an ideal, particularly protected habitat. The Ethiopian ibex is still at home in the Semien Mountains National Park, as is the Abyssinian fox, the Dschelada baboon and the cliff diver. For them, the national park is the last refuge.

Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela (World Heritage)

The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela in northern Ethiopia are impressive witnesses to Christian life, which received decisive impulses from King Lalibela (1181 – 1221). He initiated the construction of the eleven churches in the 12th century. The churches were carved directly out of the reddish tuff. Lalibela is still a pilgrimage center for Ethiopian Christians today.

Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela: facts

Official title: Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
Cultural monument: on a rock terrace eleven medieval rock churches in the red tuff stone; the largest church, the east-facing Bet Medhane Alem (Church of the World Savior); also Bet Maryam, dedicated to Mary, and Bet Amanuel and Bet Abba Libanos, which belong to the church complex south of the Yordanos River
Continent: Africa
Country: Ethiopia, Wollo
Location: north of Addis Ababa
Appointment: 1978
Meaning: An important Christian place of worship in northern Africa for centuries, which still brings thousands of believers to Lalibela today
Naming: King Lalibela (1181-1221)
About history: around 330 first Christian proclamation of the faith in the Aksumite empire 5th century by Syrian monks spread of the Christian faith in the 9th century. Advancement of Islam and disintegration of the empire of Aksum 12th / 13th century. Century under King Lalibela the heyday of the Christian faith in Ethiopia; Eleven monolithic rock churches of the “new Jerusalem” were erected in a period of probably 120 years. Wall paintings in Bet Maryam, the most popular place of worship in Lalibela to this day

Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela (World Heritage)