November 29, 2017

3208 ETHIOPIA - Mount Ziqualla

Located at 85km East from Addis Ababa, Mount Ziqualla is an extinct volcano rising to 600m above sea level and dominating the western part of the Rift Valley. The crater harbours a lake about 100m below the rim. All outer slopes of the volcano are steep and often dissected by deep gullies. The natural vegetation, mainly forest, only remains inside the crater and in a few deep gullies below the summit, however in former times the whole mountains would have been mainly forested.

Now, the remaining vegetation is dominated by secondary scrub with much cultivation to the western and southern upper slopes of the crater. To the North, on the crater rim and the upper slopes, there is a large plantation of Cupressus lusitanica established in the 1960s. The zone around the lake is open grassland. The area is one of the Important Bird Areas of Ethiopia, and has one of the last remaining patches of more or less undisturbed forest in the region.

Ziqualla has been an important religious site for many centuries including a major destination for pilgrims. The ancient monastery of Abune Eyessus Moa has two churches situated on the northern rim of the crater whilst the traditional Oromo sacred site is near the forest edge to the south of the lake. In former times more churches existed around the crater, one site is easily identifiable at the very summit of the crater rim.

Formerly Abune Eyessus Moa was an island but following a drop in the lake level of several metres around the 1940s, it became connected with the mainland by an isthmus. Although people often talk about this monastery as an important woodland site, in fact very little of the tree cover remained. The semi-natural vegetation is threatened mainly by the rising lake level and Cordia africana is endangered because of unsustainable logging.

About the stamps
The first two stamps are part of a series of definitive stamps, about which I wrote here. The last stamp is part of the series Golden Jubilee of African Union, about which I wrote here.

Ziqualla - Gebre Menfeskidus Abo -
Abune Eyessus Moa -

Sender: Adam Wole (direct swap)
Sent from Addis Ababa (Addis Ababa / Ethiopia), on 28.10.2017 
Photo: Wubale

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