Ethiopia is a place full of historical attractions. Beautiful countryside can be seen as well as many ruins. Several attractions exist including Axsum, Harar, Lalibela, DebreDamo, Mekele, and Gonder. Each area provides a new and unique experience to the visitor. Aksum offers historical journeys with many ruins, dating back to 800 BC. One example includes the previous settlement of Yeha. Yehais the country’s pre-Axsumite foundation in the civilization of Ethiopia. In Gondar, there are fairytale castles dating back to the 17th century. In Harar, the visitor can enjoy the incense-flavored mysteries of narrow alleyways and towering minarets.
Details on the origins of all the peoples that make up the population of highland Ethiopia were still matters for research and debate in the early 1990s. Anthropologists believe that East Africa's Great Rift Valley is the site of humankind's origins. (The valley traverses Ethiopia from southwest to northeast.) In 1974 archaeologists excavating sites in the Awash River valley discovered 3.5-million-year- old fossil skeletons, which they named Australopithecus afarensis. These earliest known hominids stood upright, lived in groups, and had adapted to living in open areas rather than in forests.