A lively culture of traditional hand-worked craftsmanship and a plethora of markets all over the country make Ethiopia a wonderful destination for connoisseurs of high quality traditional hand woven cloths and other handicrafts.
Ethiopia is renowned for its traditional crosses, which are usually made from wood, silver or other metals. Small crosses are worn as necklaces by individual Orthodox Christians, while larger ones are used for ceremonial purposes. Hundreds of designs are available, with different styles being associated with the main northern centres of Aksum, Lalibela or Gondar.
Locally woven white or off-white cotton cloths are typical of highland Ethiopia. The shama is the ubiquitous cloth of the male, wrapped around the heads and shoulders on cold mornings, while women use a more elaborate version with a colorful border to make dresses. The country’s finest weavers are the Dorze, who live in the highlands above Arba Minch, but their produce can also be bought at Addis Ababa’s Shiro Meda market.
Hand woven items such as scarves, shawls, table clothes and cotton towels designed for the export market can also be bought directly from some specialized workshops in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is also recognised for its leather products and it is possible to find a range of good quality leather jackets and bags.