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So what is Ityopyawinet, the Amharic word for the distinct quality of being Ethiopian? An isolated nation that is receptive to the outside world. Hierarchical and conservative, innovative and desirous of modernity, conformist as a people and yet fiercely independent as individuals. The Ethiopian identity defies definition.

Aptly described as “the reservoir of Africa,” Ethiopia has river systems upon which its near neighbours in Somalia, Sudan and Egypt are particularly reliant. Ethiopia is also home to extreme opposites, seen in the harsh Danakil desert where the hottest annual mean temperature on earth has been recorded.

Ethiopians, and Northern Ethiopians in particular, are deeply conscious of hierarchy. Theirs is a system which has undergone centuries of refinement. For administrative purposes the country is divided into nine ethnically based regions and two chartered cities. At the local level the regions are divided hierarchically into zones, the zones into woredas and kebeles (local community councils). Officials enforce policies at the appropriate level, requests will be passed up the hierarchy and orders will be passed down.

Culture Smart! Ethiopia is a concise guide to understanding the Ethiopian people, with illuminating insights into their national identity. Familiarise yourself with their customs, traditions and culture and experience Ethiopia authentically.

"Culture Smart has come to the rescue of hapless travellers." Sunday Times Travel

"... the perfect introduction to the weird, wonderful and downright odd quirks and customs of various countries." Global Travel

"...full of fascinating-as well as common-sense-tips to help you avoid embarrassing faux pas." Observer

" useful as they are entertaining." Easyjet Magazine

"...offer glimpses into the psyche of a faraway world." New York Times