Ethiopia’s unique combination of culture, deep rooted history and stunning landscape makes it one of the most intriguing places on earth. Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the north-eastern part of Africa, popularly known as the Horn of Africa. Addis-Ababa is its capital and largest city. Arhamic is its official language while Birr (ETB) is its official currency.

Here are some interesting facts about the country Ethiopia -

• Ethiopia is the oldest place on earth - First founded in 980 BC, Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa. It is also the second most populated country in Africa with a population of over 106 million people, making it second to Nigeria. Ethiopia also stands as the only African country that has never been colonized. It had to defeat Italy on two occasions when it was invaded to maintain this status.

• Christmas is celebrated in Ethiopia on January 7th each year. This is because the Ethiopian calendar is seven (7) years behind the conventional Gregorian calendar that was adopted by the Roman church as far as back as 525 AD. Ethiopia did not change its own calendar at the time. Ethiopia has 13 months in a year( i.e 12 months with 30 days each and a 13th month with 5 days in a common year and 6 days in a leap year). Ethiopia celebrated the new millennium on 11th September, 2007. Also, Ethiopians celebrate their new year on September 11. They call it Enkutatash.

• Legend has it that the biblical Ark of The Covenant is resting somewhere in a church in Ethiopia. This mystical edifice, holding the Mosaic 10th commandments, is believed to be housed in a church in Ethiopia. Known as the ‘Mother Church of Ethiopia,’ St. Mary of Tsion. No one, not even the specially chosen guardian, is allowed to look to confirm if it is actually there. Ethiopia is also thought to be the world's first Christian state. 

• Dallol in Ethiopia is the hottest inhabited place on the surface of the Earth. This part of Ethiopia holds the world record for the highest average temperature for an inhabited location. 

• Coffee is believed to have been first discovered in Ethiopia. Several historical accounts suggest that coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia and moved around the world through slave trading and other means. One of such accounts is that a 9th century goat herder in Ethiopia noticed how energised his goats became whenever they fed from a certain bush. This led him to try and chew the fruits from the bush. He took these fruits to a monastery and a monk threw them into the fire. The enticing aroma attracted other monks and the fruit was dissolved in hot water, yielding the world’s first cup of coffee. As such, it is considered impolite to refuse a cup of coffee in Ethiopia. Interesting, isn't it? 

• The Ethiopian Obelisk located in the city of Askum, at 75 metres high (23 feets) is regarded as the world's first high rise.

• Children in Ethiopia take their father’s first name as their last name. They (parents and children) do not share their last name.

• Abebe Bikila, an Ethiopian, was the first African to win a gold medal at the Rome Olympic marathon in 1960 while running barefoot. The Ethiopian athlete beat the Olympic record for the marathon by almost eight seconds, covering approximately 42.16 kilometres.