Overview of Eritrea

  • Eritrea’s coastal location has long been important in its history and culture—a fact reflected in its name, which is an Italianized version of Mare Erythraeum, Latin for “Red Sea.” The Red Sea was the route by which Christianity and Islam reached the area, and it was an important trade route that such powers as Turkey, Egypt, and Italy hoped to dominate by seizing control of ports on the Eritrean coast.
  • Eritrea also holds memberships in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Finance Corporation, International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), Non-Aligned Movement, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Permanent Court of Arbitration, Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa, and the World Customs Organization.
  • Eritrea severed diplomatic relations with Sudan in 1994, claiming that the latter was hosting Islamic terrorist groups to destabilize Eritrea, and both countries entered an acrimonious relationship, each accusing the other of hosting various opposition rebel groups or "terrorists" and soliciting outside support to destabilize the other.
  • Eritrean troops fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray state systematically killed hundreds of unarmed civilians in the northern city of Axum on November 28-29, 2020, opening fire in the streets and conducting house-to-house raids in a massacre that may amount to a crime against humanity, Amnesty International said today in a new report.
  • Eritrea is part of a 14 nation constituency within the Global Environment Facility, which partners with international institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives.
  • Eritrea is a relatively small country (by African standards), about the same size as Pennsylvania or England, but it has a varied and contrasting landscape due to the diverse topography of the Great Rift Valley, which traverses all of East Africa, the Red Sea and the Middle East.
  • Eritrea is a multilingual and multicultural country with two dominant religions (Sunni Islam and Oriental Orthodox Christianity) and nine ethnic groups: Tigrinya 50 percent, Tigre and Kunama 40 percent, Afar 4 percent, Saho (Red Sea coast dwellers) 3 percent, other 3 percent.
  • Eritrean refugees and asylum-seekers continued to face serious human rights abuses as they made their way to Europe, including in transit countries, particularly Libya, where many were subjected to detention, abduction, sexual abuse, and torture and other ill-treatment.
  • Eritrea and Ethiopia cut diplomatic ties following a border war between 1998 and 2001, but relations were restored after Abiy Ahmed became Ethiopia’s prime minister in 2018 and promised to hand over territory that an international tribunal had ruled belonged to Eritrea.
  • Eritrea’s conscription system ties most able-bodied men and women—including those under 18 who are completing secondary school—to obligatory military service, which can also entail compulsory, unpaid labor for enterprises controlled by the political elite.
  • Continent

    Almost unique on the African continent, the Tour of Eritrea is a bicycle race from the hot desert beaches of Massawa, up the winding mountain highway with its precipitous valleys and cliffs to the capital Asmara.From there, it continues downward onto the western plains of the Gash-Barka Zone, only to return back to Asmara from the south.The momentum for long-distance running in Eritrea can be seen in the successes of Zersenay Tadesse and Mebrahtom (Meb) Keflezighi, both Olympians.This is, by far, the most popular sport in Eritrea, though long-distance running has garnered supporters.


    According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2010, 62.9% of the population of Eritrea adheres to Christianity, 36.6% follows Islam, and 0.4% practices folk religion.Department of State estimates that, as of 2011, 50% of the population of Eritrea adheres to Christianity, 48% follows Islam, and 2% observes other religions, including traditional faiths and animism.The remainder observes Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and other faiths (<0.1% each), or are religiously unaffiliated (0.1%).The U.S.


    Features include designated city zoning and planning, wide treed boulevards, political areas and districts and space and scope for development.One unfortunate aspect of the city's planning were the different areas designated for Italians, and Eritreans, each disproportionately sized.The city incorporates many features of a planned city.

    How Much Do You Know About Eritrea?

    Can you find Eritrea on a map? What else do you know about this African country with about five million people.

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    Power cuts and blackouts are very common. I experienced multiples of them every day during my ten days stay in the country.While all the hotel´s I stayed in had generators that kicked in when the power cuts happen, most of the restaurants did not have it.

    Is Eritrea Safe?

    Eritrea is by far the safest country I have visited in Africa.I will also put it in my top 5 safest countries that I have ever been to.The locals were super friendly and welcoming.

    How To Get To Eritrea?

    The one and the ONLY way to arrive in Eritrea is by flight, and the ONLY international airport is Asmara International Airport, just outside Asmara the capital of the country.

    Accommodation In Eritrea?

    There are no hostels and Couchsurfing is strictly illegal in Eritrea.A hotel will normally cost you around 900 Nakfa / 60 Usd a night (Breakfast included)
    In Asmara I stayed at the Sunshine Hotel, it seemed to be the most popular ones for tourists.And I met around 7-8 other tourists there during my stay, with a very popular Piano bar during the weekend.

    How To Get Around Eritrea?

    *Update January 2020, Foreigners are NOW allowed to use local transportation around Eritrea.But you will need a permit from the Ministry of Tourism and Information for each place you want to visit outside of Asmara.So really only the way to travel around Eritrea is with pre-arranged transportation through a local travel agency.Since the relationship between Eritrea and Ethiopia has improved a lot over recent time, so can you now travel between the two countries if your heading to Ethiopia as well on your trip is sure to check out this post-ETHIOPIA ULTIMATE TRAVEL GUIDE.

    Eritrea Language?

    Eritrea is a multilingual country.Eritrea has no official language, and it´s on the Constitution that all  “equality of all Eritrean languages.There are at least nine local languages with Tigrinya, Tigre, and Dahlik being the three most common ones.

    The Cost?

    The cost of living and travelling in Eritrea highly depends on how you exchange your money.If you go with the official rates, Eritrea will be surprisingly expensive, but if you go for the black market rates, then Eritrea would be rather cheap.

    Food in Eritrea?

    Italian food is the most common food – Spaghetti, penne pasta (often from Barilla, you know the one) and Pizza is served in every restaurant.The pizza is often from old Italian stone ovens.Even though the pizza ingredients are not as good as the ones, you get in modern countries.But it is definitely much better than most south-east Asian countries.

    Drinks and Alcohol?

    Only drink bottled water.Unfortunately, bottled water is rather expensive.1L bottle costs around 30+ Nakfa (2USD, with official rate).When buying a soft drink, (Coca-Cola and Sprite most common) check if it´s a local or imported bottle/can.The imported ones, normally from Sudan, is a lot more expensive than the locally made ones.

    Internet in Eritrea?

    When I say it´s bad, I do mean extremely bad.Out of the 100 countries that I have been to (except  North Korea), Eritrea by far the worst in the world when it comes to getting online.You are not even ALLOWED to have internet in your home in Eritrea.

    History of Eritrea

  • In 1869 or 1870, the ruling Sultan of Raheita sold lands surrounding the Bay of Assab to the Rubattino Shipping Company.[69] The area served as a coaling station along the shipping lanes introduced by the recently completed Suez Canal.
  • In 1888, the Italian administration launched its first development projects in the new colony.
  • In 1890, Italy – a late-comer to the “Scramble for Africa” – conquered Eritrea and Somalia, which became colonies; despite these successes, the economy had significantly worsened and millions of Italians, mainly from the rural South, were forced to emigrate.
  • In 1896 Francesco Crispi, Prime Minister for the second time, gave order to invade Ethiopia: the badly-led expedition however was massacred at the battle of Adwa.
  • In 1922, Benito Mussolini‘s rise to power in Italy brought profound changes to the colonial government in Italian Eritrea.
  • In 1936, it became a province of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana), along with Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland.
  • In 1939, there were around 2,198 factories and most of the employees were Eritrean citizens.
  • In 1941, British troops routed the Italians, and Haile Selassie returned to Addis Ababa.
  • In 1947 Eritrea became part of a federation with Ethiopia, the Federation of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
  • In 1952, Eritrea was incorporated into Ethiopia.
  • In 1952, the United Nations resolved to federate the former colony under Ethiopian rule.
  • In 1961 the 30-year Eritrean struggle for independence began after years of peaceful student protests against Ethiopian violation of Eritrean democratic rights and autonomy had culminated in violent repression and the emperor of Ethiopia's dissolution of the federation and declaration of Eritrea as a province of Ethiopia.
  • In 1961, Emperor Haile Selassie I ended the “federal” arrangement and declared the territory to be the 14th province of the Ethiopian Empire.[18] Ethiopia’s biggest ally was the United States.
  • In 1961, the Eritrean war for independence began.
  • In 1967, the Chinese government donated light weapons and a small amount of cash to cover the cost of transport and provided training to ELF combatants.
  • In 1974, its monarchy was deposed, and replaced with a pro-Soviet military junta, which ruled Ethiopia for 17 years until the end of the Cold War.
  • In 1977, EPLF held its first congress, at which Isaias was elected vice-secretary general.
  • In 1986, following a survey of rural areas to determine which crops were best suited for development, wheat, barley, maize, and sorghum were planted in 192 management training plots in the Seraye, Hamassien, and Akeleguzay provinces in central and southern Eritrea.
  • In 1988, former U.S.
  • In 1991, Eritrean and Ethiopian rebels jointly held the Ethiopian capital under siege as the Ethiopian communist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam fled to Zimbabwe, where he lives despite requests for extradition.
  • In 1993, after a war of independence that lasted nearly three decades, Eritrea became a sovereign country.
  • In 1994 an…
  • In 1995, Greece agreed to recognize the country as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
  • In 1998, a border war over the town of Badme occurred.
  • In 1999 scientists discovered some of the first examples of humans using tools to harvest marine resources at a site along the Red Sea coast.
  • In 1999, the Eritrean Research Project Team composed of Eritrean, Canadian, American, Dutch and French scientists discovered a Paleolithic site with stone and obsidian tools dated to over 125,000 years old near the Bay of Zula south of Massawa, along the Red Sea littoral.
  • In 2001, the 37th summit of the OAU formally adopted the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to address the challenges facing the continent.
  • In 2001, the 37th summit of the OAU formally adopted the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to address the challenges facing the continent.
  • In 2002 […]
  • In 2002 Eritrea
    introduced a new law that forbids all churches except for the Orthodox,
    Catholic and Lutheran denominations.
  • In 2003, the government began to demobilize some of those slated for the first phase; however, the government maintains a "national service" program, which includes most of the male population between 18 and 40 and the female population between 18 and 27.
  • In 2004 the U.S.
  • In 2004, the U.S.
  • In 2006, Eritrea also announced that it would become the first country in the world to turn its entire coast into an environmentally protected zone.
  • In 2006, Eritrea announced it would become the first country in the world to turn its entire coast into an environmentally protected zone.
  • In 2006, Eritrea normalized relations with Sudan and is beginning to open the border to trade between the two countries.
  • In 2009, Ethiopia had an estimated 135,000 asylum seekers and refugees, mostly from Somalia (64,000), Eritrea (42,000) and Sudan (23,000).
  • In 2011, Eritrea’s GDP grew by 8.7% making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
  • In 2017, the city was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well-preserved modernist architecture.[3][4] Asmera was first settled in 800 BC with a population ranging from 100 to 1000.
  • In 2019, Eritrea GDP was an estimated $2.1 billion (current market exchange rates); real GDP was up by an estimated 3.8%; and the population was 6 million.
  • In 2020, the Committee to Protect Journalists found Eritrea was the most censored country in the world and had more journalists in prison than any other country.
  • In the 1950s, the Ethiopian feudal administration under Emperor Haile Selassie sought to annex Eritrea and Italian Somaliland.
  • In the 1990s, despite the promises made and diplomatic speeches delivered, disputes between Ethiopian operators and Eritrean managers of the port of Assab had multiplied and had considerably deteriorated relations between the two countries before the border incident of April 1998.