Fast Facts:

1. It is located in the Horn of Africa in East Africa and is the 37th largest country on the African continent.

2. Its capital and largest city is Asmara.

3. Eritrea means red and it was named after the Red Sea. It has a long coastline on the Red Sea that extends the length of the country.

4. Major languages: Tigrinya, Tigre, Afar, Beja, Bilen, Kunama, Nara, Saho, Italian, Arabic, English. Tigrinya, Arabic, and English serve as the three working languages.

5. Major ethnic groups: Tigrinya (55%), Tigre (30%), Saho (4%), Kunama (2%), Rashaida (2%), Bilen (2%), Other – Afar, Beni-Amer, Nara (5%)

6. Major religions: Christianity (63%), Islam (36%), other (1%)

7. In 1993, after a 30-year civil war, Eritrea succeeded from neighboring Ethiopia and became a sovereign nation. The border remains in dispute.

8. It is called Africa’s most secretive country and most of it is off-limits to tourists. Its land borders are closed to tourists so all visitors must fly into the country.

9. It is a former Italian colony and the Italian influence is still present. The capital city, Asmara, offers Italian colonial and modernist buildings, including the Saint Joseph Cathedral, Cinema Roma, Cinema Impero, Asmara Great Mosque, and Fiat Tagliero building, the unique Medeber market, the Tank Graveyard, and a variety of cafes and restaurants.

10. It is an off-the-beaten path location offering a unique blend of historical and cultural highlights, as well as tropical beaches, beautiful mountain ranges, and tranquil landscapes. Interesting locales include Massawa, home of the Imperial Palace which served as the winter residence of Haile Selassie; Foro, gateway to the Afar region and the ancient ruins of Adulis; and Keren, a traditional, predominantly Muslim city with a lively Monday animal market.

11. In order to visit any place outside of the capital, you must obtain a special permit for each place you visit.

12. Eritrea’s tourism motto is “3 seasons in 2 hours”, because in 2 hours it is possible to travel from Asmara, the cool ‘city in the clouds’ at 7,628 ft elevation, down to the sea level Danakil Depression to the hot coastal desert strip.

Map of Eritrea
Map of Eritrea
Video credit: Top Tourist Places
Video credit: Displore