Eritrea at a Glance

Eritrea (Ertra as it is called by Eritreans) is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by the Sudan in the north and west, Ethiopia in the south, Djibouti in the southeast and the Red Sea in the east. The east of the country has an extensive coastline (about 1000 KMs) on the Red Sea, directly across from Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Eritrean territory covers about 48,000 square miles (125,000 square kilometers) and three seasons at the same time: the coastal areas along the Red Sea with a semi-desert climate, the Eastern Green-Belt area with a rainy season and highland plateau with Mediteranean climate. In addition, it has lowland plains as well as off-the-coast some 300 coral islands (the Dahlak Islands). 

The population of Eritrea is about 5 million. The population is half Christian and half Muslim. Christians and Muslims have lived peacefully together for more than 1000 years in Eritrea. During Christian Holy Days and Muslim Eids  both enjoy the festivities together. 

The Eritrean capital, Asmara, is located in the highland plateau. Asmara has a nickname "Little Rome". The city has a favourable climate and sunshine throughout the year. The capital has preserved architectural building of Modern Italian style as well as Ottoman Empire architecture. It has been proposed  as a possible New Addition to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The port of Massawa, on the other hand, is influenced by the Ottoman period and the long tradition of trade with Far-East countries and ports. In the countryside, traditional building customs of the Middle East are still upheld. In the rural highlands, small stone houses (hidmo) with roofs made of branches of wood and soil, used to be built. However, they are no more built because they consume much wood and are considered not environmentally friendly. The house is separated into two areas, a kitchen section in the back (where men were not allowed) and a public room in the front that is also used as sleeping quarters.

On the other hand, in lowland areas we find several housing styles, from tent-like structures (agnet) among the pastoral nomadic groups, to more permanent straw or stone/mud huts among the settlements.

Eritreans pride themselves on being hard working and resilient, and they show great social responsibility. Respect for elders and disabled, and most of all martyrs is one of the major disciplines of the people. Eritrea is a peaceful place to live in, crime is virtually non-existent and it is a wonderful place to visit.

Click the links below to watch a video of Asmara's Architectural Heritage

  1. Asmara- Africa's most beautiful city
  2. http:// whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/2024

<< Back to Coffee Ceremony            NOW find out about Eritrean tourist attractions>>.