ATTRACTION EASTERN CIRCUIT ATTRACTION EASTERN CIRCUIT This part of Ethiopia is inhabited by the Afar nomads, Oromo's, Somali and Harari. Where in most parts of Ethiopia the Christian Orthodox faith has had a great influence on culture and social life, in the east Muslim culture has been the reigning culture since the 13th century. Visiting the 1000 years old walled Muslim city of Harar you will breath the atmosphere of the tales of "thousand and one night". The road from Addis Abeba to Harar has many interesting aspects such as the beautiful Awash National Park and the very scenic route through the Chercher and Arba Gugu mountains. Around Harar the coffee plantations are more and more replaced by chat, a mild stimulating drug. Travelling from the town Awash to the Afar Depression north-east, you will drive through a complete different landscape, ending your trip in the Danakil Desert and Depression. This trip is really only for adventurers with a good physical condition because the desert climate is very hot. But first stay a while in the Bilen Lodge in chalets built in Afar style. You can swim in the nearby Bilen Hot Spring and observe a great variety of birds and wildlife in the surrounding riverine forest, acacia woodland, savannah and wetlands. WINDOW ON THE PAST The city of Harar is an ancient (1520) and holy city. Harar was an important trading center. The city is famous for its ancient buildings, its great city walls and as a center of Islamic learning (the city has 99 mosques). It is believed to be the fourth holiest city for Islam after Mecca, Medina & Jerusalem. The city is well known for its superb handicrafts that include woven textiles, basket ware, silverware and handsomely bound books. Harar has been a place of pilgrimage from all over the world for many years. Harar's attractions are: Harari homes are unique and reminiscent of coastal Arab architecture. Bowls, dishes, and basketry are hung in stylized fashion on the wall, but all are functional. As evening falls, local men attract wild hyenas to the city in a bizarre spectacle as they bravely feed these dangerous scavengers. HARARI The Muslims of Harar wear colorful dress. The men often dress in red, purple or black. The women of Harar part their hair in the middle and make large buns behind their ears. Harari women have been known for their basketwork for centuries and still weave intricate creations from coloured fibers and grasses. Harar is also famous for the work of its silversmiths, who craft beautiful anklets, necklaces, arm bands, silver chains, bangles and earrings out of the precious metal. Although these items can be purchased at the market, some of the best selections can be found in the homes of the craftsmen and women. DALLOL DEPRESSION One of the most important features of this region of Africa resulted from faulting and cracking on its eastern side. This has caused the Great Rift Valley, which extends from the Middle East to Mozambique, passing in a north-south direction right through Ethiopia. This shearing of the earth's surface occurred at the same time that the Arabian Peninsula, geologically a part of Africa, was sundered from the rest of the continent. Volcanic activity, which has continued until today, finds expression in volcanoes in Ethiopia's Danakil Depression, as well as in the hot springs in many parts of the country. Earth tremors are often felt, and exposed cones of old volcanic plugs are seen throughout the plateau. After the Rift opened, much of this area was flooded by the inrushing waters of the red Sea, a flood that was subsequently stemmed by fresh volcanic activity that raised barriers of basaltic lava. Behind these barriers the trapped inland sea that had formed began to evaporate under the fierce heat of the tropical sun - a process that is almost complete today. Only a few scattered, highly saline lakes - Gamarri, Affambo, Bario, and Abbe remain. Elsewhere, there are huge beds of natural salt - which, at points, are calculated to be several thousands of metres thick. AWASH NATIONAL PARK Lying in the lowlands east of Addis Ababa, and striding the Awash River, the Awash National Park is one of the finest reserves in Ethiopia. The Awash River, one of the major rivers of the Horn of Africa, waters important agricultural lands in the north- eastern part of Ethiopia and eventually flows into the wilderness of Danakil Depression. The dramatic Awash Falls as the river tumbles into its gorge is the site not to be missed in the national park. A special attraction is the beautiful clear pools of the hot springs (Filwoha). Awash National Park, surrounding the dormant volcano of Fantale, is a reserve of arid and semi-arid woodland and Savannah, with reverie forests along the Awash River. Forty-six species of animals have been identified here, including Beisa Oryx and Swayne's Hartebeest. The bird life is prolific especially along the river and in amongst the 392 species recorded. ERTA - ALE This imperative site is also important as it has an immense ground of salt dipostion which is the source of income of the Afar,since they skillfully mine the saline to supply the country with edible salt. benize this wide carpet of salt is an extensive source of volcanic hit that results babbles of hot water to rise through layers of salt and anhydrite deposit. the never tiring nor non-cooling lava lake at Erta-Ale, one of the stunning place in Afar,boiles it self and at times it spew out small amount of lava to fall shield volcano with an enjoyable colorfull land scapes of reds, browns and yellow, that form captivating fumaroles, amazing rock formations of crystal and mineral deposits across the land. Studies record that the place had experienced large volcanic irruptions until about fourty years ago, yet the continues activate of the lava prevents explosive irruptions. Situated the North east of Ethiopia in a regoin specially in the Afar region, Denakil Depuration is supposed the most challenging site in Ethiopia.