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Introduction

Ethiopia is one of the world's oldest states. The East African nation has museums with historical artifacts dating back thousands of years, but if it is exploring you want, mule treks, biking and bird watching are also available.

Although Ethiopia was never colonized there was tension with Italy, which had invaded and occupied the nation during World War II and forced Emperor Haile Selassie into exile. The British military eventually intervened and returned Selassie back to his throne. But in 1974 a military junta, the Derg, overthrew him, ending his 44-year rule. A coalition of rebel forces ousted the regime in 1991. Since then Ethiopia has held multi-party elections, including one in 2005 which was criticized as unfair by foreign observers.

Ethiopia has a population of at least 74 million people, almost all of whom practice either Christianity or Islam. Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya and Somali are the most common languages. Ethiopian food is among the most popular foods from East Africa. One of the more noted foods is wat, which is a sauce that is usually prepared with vegetables and meat with hot or mild spices.

Ethiopian Airlines is one of the best airlines in all of Africa, operating from its base in the capital, Addis Ababa. Getting around town is normally done by bus and train. Fares are reasonable but service is slow. A large and reliable network of buses travels to and from the larger cities in Ethiopia.

There are many resorts in Ethiopia, including the Ghion Hotel in Addis Ababa. It has spacious rooms, tennis courts, a large playground and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Another resort is the Hilton Addis Ababa, which offers a pizzeria, a lounge, grill and live piano entertainment. The Hilton Addis Ababa has a thermally heated swimming pool, squash and tennis courts, and also massage.


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