About Eritrea

Although the country is quite small it is surprisingly diverse. Eritrea is bordered on the east by the Red Sea, on the south-east by Djibouti, on the south by Ethiopia, and on the north-west by Sudan, it has an area of 121,144 sq km (46,774 sq mi).

Asmara is the capital and largest city. Eritrea's land is highly variegated. Running on a north-south axis through the middle of the country are the central highlands, a narrow strip of country some 6,500 feet (2,000 metres) above sea level that represents the northern reaches of the Ethiopian Plateau.The upper layers have been highly dissected by deep gorges and river channels, forming small steep-sided, flat-topped tablelands known as ambas. The highest point in the plateau is Mount Soira, at 9,885 feet.

The most widely used languages are Tigrinya,Tigre, and Arabic. Half of the population are Muslims, but these are divided among several ethnic and linguistic groups. In 2001 Eritrea had an estimated population of 4,298,269, giving it a population density of 35 persons per sq km (92 per sq mi). The major cities of Eritrea include the capital and largest city Asmara, the seaports Massawa and Assab , Keren ,Nak’fa, Akordat, and Teseney, Dekemhare.

On the southern part of the coastal region live Afar nomads, whose relatives live across the borders in Djibouti and Ethiopia; they are also called the Denakil, after the region that they inhabit the Danakil depression. The coastal strip south of Massawa, as well as the eastern flanks of the plateau, are occupied by Saho pastoralists. In the western plain, the dominant people are pastoralists of the Beja family, whose kin live across the border in The Sudan. Two small Nilotic groups, the Kunama and the Nara, also live in the west.

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