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Massive erosion over the years on the Ethiopian plateau has created one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, with jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp precipices dropping some 1,500 m. The park is home to some extremely rare animals such as the Gelada baboon, the Simien fox and the Walia ibex, a goat found nowhere else in the world.
The property’s spectacular landscape is part of the Simien mountain massif, which is located on the northern limit of the main Ethiopian plateau and includes the highest point in Ethiopia, Ras Dejen. The undulating plateau of the Simien mountains has over millions of years been eroded to form precipitous cliffs and deep gorges of exceptional natural beauty. Some cliffs reach 1,500 m in height and the northern cliff wall extends for some 35 km. The mountains are bounded by deep valleys to the north, east and south, and offer vast vistas over the rugged-canyon like lowlands below. The spectacular scenery of the Simien mountains is considered to rival Colorado’s Grand Canyon.
UNESCO has added Konso Cultural Landscape to the list of World Heritage Sites in 2011 According to UNESCO’S brief description; Konso Cultural Landscape is a 55km2 arid properties of stone walled terraces and fortified settlements in the Konso highlands of Ethiopia. It constitutes a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations (more than 400 years) adapted to its dry hostile environment. The landscape demonstrates the shared values, social cohesion and engineering knowledge of its communities. The site also features anthropomorphic wooden statues - grouped to represent respected members of their communities and particularly heroic events - which are an exceptional living testimony to funerary traditions that are on the verge of disappearing. Stone steles in the towns express a complex system of marking the passing of generations of leaders. is a 55km2 arid property of stone walled terraces and fortified settlements in the Konso highlands of Ethiopia. It constitutes a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations (more than 400 years) adapted to its dry hostile environment. The landscape demonstrates the shared values, social cohesion and engineering knowledge of its communities. The site also features anthropomorphic wooden statues - grouped to represent respected members of their communities and particularly heroic events - which are an exceptional living testimony to funerary traditions that are on the verge of disappearing. Stone steles in the towns express a complex system of marking the passing of generations of leaders.
A prehistoric site near Lake Turkana, the lower valley of the Omo is renowned the world over. The discovery of many fossils there, especially Homo gracilis, has been of fundamental importance in the study of human evolution. The remote area is also home to a huge cultural diversity of people , who have maintained the same life style over the countries and have been the subject of much anthropological study .it is the most unique place in the world ,in that so many different cultures inhabit such a relatively small piece of land .
The Lower Omo Valley includes the Konso and Fejej paleontological research locations with sedimentary deposit going back to the plio-pleistocene period. These have produced numerous hominid and animal fossils, including fragments of Australopithecus. The deposits of human vertebrae fauna, and paleo-environmental evolution, shed light on the earliest stages of the origins and development of Homo sapiens of Africa. The discoveries of ancient stone tools in an encampment also offers evidence of the oldest known technical activities of prehistoric beings, thus making the property one of the most significant for mankind.
To ensure Omo’s position as the yardstick against which all other ancient deposits in East Africa are measured, researched evidence from the site has established bio-stratigraphical, radiometric and magneto-stratigraphical scales spanning between one and 3.5 million years.
Since 1966, scientific research has proved that the site significantly contributes to prominent archaeological, geological, paleo-anthropological and paleo-environmental studies.
The Lower Awash Valley paleo-anthropological site is located 300 km northeast of Addis Ababa, in the west of the Afar Depression. It covers an area of around 150 km2.
As UNESCO stated, the Awash valley contains one of the most important groupings of paleontological sites on the African continent. The remains found at the site, the oldest of which date back at least 4 million years, provide evidence of human evolution which has modified our conception of the history of humankind. The most spectacular discovery came in 1974, when 52 fragments of a skeleton enabled the famous Lucy to be reconstructed.
Excavations by an international team of paleontologists and pre-historians began in 1973, and continued annually until 1976, and ended in 1980. In that time, they found a large quantity of fossilized hominid and animal bones in a remarkable state of preservation, the most ancient of which were at least four million years old. In 1974, the valley produced the most complete set of remains of a hominid skeleton, Australopithecus afarensis, nicknamed ‘Lucy’, dating back 3.2 million years. Afarensis has since been proved to be the ancestral origin for both the Genus Australopithecus and Homo-sapiens.
A recovered female skeleton nicknamed ‘Ardi’ is 4.4 million years old, some 1.2 million years older than the skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis ‘Lucy’.
There is a wealth of paleo-anthropological and pre-historic tools still awaiting discovery and scientific study and these are seen as constituting an exceptionally important cultural heritage resource.
This site has been adopted by UNESCO 1980.
Tiya is found in the Soddo area in South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State of Ethiopia. According to an article by UNESCO, the site contains 36 monuments, including 32 carved stelae covered with symbols, "They are believed to be marks of the large prehistoric burial complex." Most of which are difficult to decipher. They are the remains of an ancient Ethiopian culture whose age has not yet been precisely determined.
This archeological site joined World Heritage Sites list in 1980.
The fortified historic town of Harar is located in the eastern part of the country on a plateau with deep gorges surrounded by deserts and savannah. Harar Jugol, this wall was built between the 13th and 16th centuries. According to an article from UNESCO Jugol, is said to be the fourth holiest city of Islam , numbers 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines, but the townhouses with their exceptional interior design constitute the most spectacular part of Harar's cultural heritage . The impact of African and Islamic traditions on the development of the town's building types and urban layout make for its particular character and uniqueness.
Harar Jugol bears exceptional testimony to cultural traditions related to Islamic and African roots. Harar Jugol is also an outstanding example of a type of architectural and urban ensemble. Further more, Harar Jugol with its surrounding landscape is an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement.Harar Jugol became part of World Heritage Sites in 2006.
The Axum stelae or obelisks have been adopted by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1980. Located in the far Northern Ethiopia, Axum was the center of one of the world’s most powerful kingdoms from the 1st to 7th centuries AD, converting to Christianity in the 4th c. the ruins of the ancient city are still clearly visible , comprising some 300 enormous monolithic obelisks or stelae , royal tombs of king Kaleb and king Gebre Meskel , palaces, fortress and the legendary bath of the Queen of Sheba.
Axum is also one of the holiest sites in Ethiopia. The 16th century Cathedral of St. Mary of Zion was probably built on an earlier 4th century church, and is the holiest church in Ethiopia. In its sanctuary is said to rest the Original Ark of Covenant.
The World Heritage site is an outstanding testimony of the modern Ethiopian civilization on the northern plateau of Tana. The characteristics of the style of the Gondar period appeared at the beginning of the 17th century in the capital city and have subsequently marked Ethiopian architecture in a long-lasting manner. Flanked by twin mountain streams at an altitude of more than 2,300 m, Gondar was founded by Emperor Fasilidas who, tiring of the pattern of migration that had characterized the lifestyle of so many of his forefathers, moved his capital here in 1636, a role that it filled until 1864.
The primary attraction is the “Royal Compound” with majestic castles. The castles are registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 1979.
Outside this enclave, there are fascinating historic sites such as the Bath of Emperor Fasiledes , the monastery and the ruined palaces of Qusquam, and the icon rich monastery of Debre Birhan Selassie.
Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela were put in the list of World Heritage Sites in 1978. The small town of Lalibela is located in Amhara Region in Northern Ethiopia. Its geographical location is 12º03’ North and 38º82’ East latitude and longitude, 642 kilometres from the Capital, Addis Ababa.
Lalibala is famed for its one of the world’s most incredible eleven monolithic rock hewn churches. It is considered by many as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’.
Lalibela still has big value among Ethiopian Orthodox Christians it is also one of the pilgrimage sites in Ethiopia. Lalibela churches are internationally-renowned for its rock-hewn churches which are sometimes called the physically prised from the rock in which they stand, these monolithic churches were originally thought to have been built in the 12th century during the reign of King Lalibela, but some have been dated back to the 10th century. There are eleven churches, assembled in three groupings:
The churches are hewn from red volcanic rock. Four of the churches are attached to their mother rock only at the base, while other churches have parts attached to the parent rock.