Discover Amharic

Amharic (አማርኛ) is an Ethiopian Semitic language from the Amhara region and belongs to the Afroasiatic language family. It is an official language in Ethiopia and spoken by over 57 million people. Written Amharic uses a form of the Ge'ez alphabet and is written from left to right.

Main Communities

Amhara (አማራ ክልል) region of Ethiopia including Bahir Da (ባሕር ዳር), the capital city.

Common Amharic names:

  • Mahlet (ማህሌት) - praise to God
  • Kebede (ከበደ) - heavy
  • Tiegist (ትእግስት) - patient. Abebe (አበበ) - flower /blossom
  • Amarech (አማረች) - she is beautiful
  • Birhan (ብርሃን) - light
  • Mengstu ( መንግስቱ) - governor

Staple Food

Injera (እንጀራ) - a type of bread or pancake. It is made using nutrient-rich Teff flour which is a great source of protein, fiber, magnesium, iron and calcium. Injera has a slightly sponge-like texture and is typically eaten with thick stews and dishes called Wat (ወጥ).

Culture and Traditions

Fasil Ghebbi (ፋሲል ግቢ) - located in Gondar (Amhara region), this ancient center of Ethiopian power is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was founded in the 17th century and was home to Ethiopian emperors. The site includes castles, palaces, and other structures.  

Gabi (ጋቢ) - This handmade cloth is made of cotton is used in many ways by Ethiopians. It can be worn on the upper body or used for swaddling newborns. The Gabi is typically woven in white with a bold strip of color.

Notable figures:

Haile Selassie (ቀዳማዊ ኀይለ ሥላሴ) - Emperor. He is well known for his efforts to modernize Ethiopia. Selassie was also a key figure in the establishment of the Organization of African Unity, now known as the African Union.

Abebe Bikila(ሻምበል አበበ ቢቂላ)  - Athlete He was a renowned marathoner and the first Ethiopian to win a gold medal. He also set multiple world records in the 1960 and 1964 Olympic games. 

Dinknesh (ድንቅ ነሽ) - Fossilized remain. Also known as Lucy, she was the oldest human fossil ever unearthed at the time of her discovery in 1974. Dinkesh, who likely lived 3.2 million years ago, gave us great insight into human evolution.