"Eritrea" Top 5 Page for this destination Eritrea by georeiser

Eritrea Travel Guide: 229 reviews and 757 photos

Intro for the ASMARA PAGE

Eritrea is located in the Horn of Africa. Bordering Djibouti in the east, Sudan in the west and Ethiopia in the south. The Red Sea is located in the Northeast.

Eritrea have been ruled by the various local or international powers. Italia colonized Eritrea in 1890, and used Eritrea for their attempt to conquer Ethiopia. But they treated the Eritreans well. The Italian influence is visible even today. The way of living and buildings in the centre of Asmara is almost like an old Italian city. The style is unike and the city centre is beautiful.

Eritrea was placed under British military administration after the Italian surrender in World War II. In 1952, a UN resolution federating Eritrea with Ethiopia went into effect. The resolution ignored independence for the Eritreans, but guaranteed some democratic rights. These rights were violated. The Ethiopians treated Eritrea bad. The prosperity in Eritrea began to decrease. Factories in Eritrea were closed and moved to Ethiopia.

Increasing resistance in Eritrea against the federation led to a decision by the Ethiopian to annex Eritrea in 1962. It erupted into a 31-year long war between the Eritrean independence movement and the Ethiopian army. Eritrea declared it's independence and gained international recognition in 1993. But a border conflict with Ethiopia started a new war in May 1998 which ended in 2000. Both sides claimed victory, but the number of death were 10 times higher on the Ethiopian side. A UN boundary commission issued a final ruling.

Eritrea is a militarized society, and both men and women are draftet into many years of military service. Even after all the people have experienced with war, they are still among the most friendly and polite people I have met. They are known to be a committed and hard-working people. Many Eritreans wear western-style clothing.

The name Eritrea comes from the greek word "erythrea", meaning red.
Eritreans has a mixed Afro-Asiatic population that is divided by religion and language. The ethnic groups in Eritrea are: Tigrinya 50%, Tigre and Kunama 40%, Afar 4%, Saho (Red Sea coast) 3%, other 3%. There are 9 languages in Eritrea (Tigrinya, Arabic, Tigre, Afar, Saho, Bega, Bilen, Nara and Kunama). Tigrinya is the most common language. Amharic (Ethiopian) and Italian (among the older people) are also spoken.

Eritrea is Africa's most secretive country. It could have been Africa’s success story. It has a long coastline, nice islands on the Red Sea, mountains, good infrastructure, organized cities, friendly and honest people.

Area: 121320 sq km
Population: 5 mill
Capital: Asmara
Religion: 50% Christian (Coptic, Catholic and protestant), 50% muslim

COUNTRY INFORMATION:
Visa: Visa must be arranged at the embassies before you enter the country. No visa on arrival.
Mobil phone: No roaming. Must have a residence to buy SIM cards (Not possible for tourists).
ATM: No ATM in Eritrea.
Recommended language: English.
Infrastructure: Very poor on the countryside and surburbs of Asmara. OK in downtown Asmara.
Friendliness by the people: The most polite people in the world. But the increasing poverty makes some more begging.
Attention by Police/military: Very suspicious, but polite. No corruption. Eritrea is a dictatorship, so don't talk negative about the government. Do not take photos of the police/military/goverment buildings.
Crime: Asmara is one of the safest places in the world.
Rainy period: Asmara: July and August.
Price level: Money exhange on the illegal black marked gives twice as good rate than the official rate. Then it's the cheapest country in East-Africa together with Ethiopia.
Airport departure tax: Nothing from Asmara (ASM).

My Asmara page

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Friendly and polite people.
  • Cons:A militarized society. Restricted for tourists to travel around the country
  • Last visit to Eritrea: Jan 2008
  • Intro Updated Jun 11, 2010
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