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Asmara (Asmera)
Agordat (Akordat)
Assab (Asseb)
Barentu
Dahlak islands
Dekemhare (Decemhare)
Ghinda (Ginda)
Keren (Cheren)
Massawa (Massauwa)
Mendefera (Adi Ugri)
Nakfa (Nacfa)
Semenawi Bahri (Filfil)
Tessenei (Teseney)

   

 

Location & Geography of Eritrea

 

Eritrea is located in North East Africa (between 12° and 18° north, and 36° and 44° east) and includes the Dahlak Archipelago and other islands along the Red Sea coast. It is bordered by Sudan to the north and west, Ethiopia to the south, Djibouti to the south-east and the Red Sea to the north and north-east.

With a land area of about 125.000 km2, Eritrea is about the size of England, or the state of Pennsylvania in the USA. The coastline measures around 1.200 km and off it there are over 350 islands, of which 210 comprise the area of the Dahlak Archipelago.

 

Eritrea map in regional perspective

 

Sea floor spreading occurs in the Red Sea, creating new land, and in the Afar triangle, only one of the two places on earth were it occurs on dry land (the other being Iceland). Many of the mountains in Eritrea are remnants of when Africa was joined to the Arabian peninsula, millions of years ago.

Eritrea was known at times as Mareb Mellash ("This side of the Mareb River") or Bahrmeder ("Sealand"). The name "Eritrea" is of foreign origin and has been attributed to a derivative of the ancient Greek cartographic designation, Mare Erythrean ("Red Sea"), fragment 67 of Aeschylus:

There the sacred waters of the Erythrean Sea break upon a bright red strand, and at no great distance from the ocean lies a copper-tinted lake - the lake that is the jewel of Ethiopia - where the all-pervading sun returns again and again to plunge his immortal form, and finds solace for his weary round in gentle ripples that are but warm caress.

It was not until the arrival of the Italians in the 19th century however that the country was officially called Eritrea.

Eritrea looks like a funnel; wide in the northwest and tapering to a narrow strip in the south-east. Topographically, the country consists of three regions:

  • The first region is a narrow eastern lowland desert strip along the Red Sea coast that accounts for around 33% of the land area coast. The land in this area is mostly infertile due to the high salt content and a year round average temperature of 25 Celsius.
  • The second region is the northern extension of the Ethiopian Plateau in the north-central region which is dissected by the valleys of westward flowing rivers, which runs Eritrea's border with Ethiopia. This area is the most fertile area of the country, receiving up to 900 mm of rain per year; the area has been the site of the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia for 40 years. Elevation of up to 3000 meters above sea level makes the climate more moderate in this area than in the coastal region.
  • The third geographical region is the western plains, which occupy the vast area extending to Eritrea's western border  with Sudan. This is the most arid area in the country, receiving only 200 mm of rain per year.

The major rivers in Eritrea are the Anseba and Barka river flowing north; the Gash and Tekeze rivers on the border with Ethiopia flowing west into Sudan. The upper course of the Gash river is known as the Mereb river. These rivers are not year round rivers. They do not run on a regular basis, but fed by seasonal rains called azmera and kremti.

The highest point is the mountain called Emba Soira (9,880 feet or 3,010 meter). The lowest point is the Kobar Sink in the Danakil Depression (380 feet or 116 meter below sea level).

Eritrea is three hours ahead of GMT. There is a two hour time difference between continental Europe and Eritrea, except when Europe is on Summer time. Then the difference is only one hour (ahead). There is an eight hour time difference (ahead) between USA Eastern Standard Time and Eritrea, which is reduced to seven during Daylight Savings Time.

 

Land boundaries 1,630 km
Djibouti 113 km
Ethiopia 912 km
Sudan 605 km
Coastline 1,200 km
Land + island coastline 2,234 km
Eritrea - Map of East Africa with the position of Eritrea relative to its neighbors Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the Red Sea  

 

Eritrea - regions and provinces

 

immediately after the EPLF took over Eritrea, ten provinces were established - based on the eight regions existing under the Italian administrative model, but with Gash Setit separated from Barka and Asmara split from Hamasien.  

Provinces of Eritrea (1996 situation) with links

 

Former administrative regions (until 1995)
Province Capital Est. pop. (city)
Akule Guzai Adi Qayeh (Adekeieh) 23,000
Asmara (Asmera) Asmara (Asmera) 500,600
Barka Agordat (Akordat) 25,000
Denkalia Assab (Asseb) 21,300
Gash Setit Barentu 16,200
Hamasien Asmara (Asmera) 500,600
Sahel Nacfa (Nakfa) 25.000
Semhar Massawa (Mitsiwa) 23,100
Senhit Keren (Cheren) 74,800
Seraye Mendefera (Adi Ugri) 17,500

On April 15th 1996, Eritrea's ten colonial-era provinces were consolidated into six new regions (zobas) and regional administrative levels were cut from four to three.

Current administrative regions (since 15-04-1996)
Province Capital Surface km2 Est. pop. (city)
Gash-Barka Agordat (Akordat) 33,200 25,000
Debubawi Kayih Bahri Assab (Asseb) 27,600 21,300
Maakel Asmara (Asmera) 1,300 500,600
Semenani Kayih Bahri Massawa (Mitsiwa) 27,800 23,100
Anseba Keren (Cheren) 23,200 74,800
Debub Adi Ugri (Mendefera) 8,000 25,800
Total Eritrea Asmara (Asmera) 121,100 500,600
2002 Population data: Ministry of local Government Eritrea

The provinces Semenawi Keyih Bahri and Debubawi Keyih Bahri
are also known as the Northern Red Sea Zone and Southern Red
Sea Zone, where the Maakel region is also known as Central Zone.

 

Eritrea - major towns

 

Place Administrative region Variants of the name Elevation Position
meter feet
Adi Keih Debub Adi Keyh, Adi Qayeh, Adi Kai, Adi Kaiih, Addi Caieh, Addicaie, ¬ddÓ K'eyih 2420 7942 14 51 N 39 22 E
Adi Qala Debub Adi Quala, Adi Kuala, Adi Kwala, Adi Qala 2053 6738 14 38 N 39 50 E
Agordat Gash Barka Akurdet, Ak'ordat 637 2093 15 32 N 37 53 E
Assab Southern Red Sea Zone Assab, Asseb, Aseb, Asab 0 0 13 00 N 42 44 E
Asmara Maakel Asmera 2363 7755 15 20 N 38 56 E
Barentu Gash Barka 994 3264 15 07 N 37 36 E
Beilul Southern Red Sea Zone Beylul, BÍylul 13 45 13 16 N 42 20 E
Dekemhare Debub Dek'emhare, Decamere, Dekemehare, Decamhare, Dek'emh‚re 1979 6496 15 04 N 39 03 E
Ghinda Northern Red Sea Zone Ghinda'e, Ginda, GÓnda 1246 4091 15 27 N 39 03 E
Hirgigo Northern Red Sea Zone Hargigo, Harkiko, Arkiko, Archico 6 22 15 32 N 39 27 E
Iddi Southern Red Sea Zone Idi, Ed, Edd,  dd 8 29 13 56 N 41 41 E
Keren Anseba Cheren, Kheren 1401 4599 15 47 N 38 28 E
Mendefera Debub Adi Ugri, ¬ddÓ UgrÓ 1986 6519 14 53 N 38 49 E
Mersa Fatma Northen Red Sea Zone Mersa Fatuma 1 6 14 54 N 40 18 E
Massawa Northern Red Sea Zone Mits'iwa'e, Massoua, Massaua, Mesewa, Massowa, Mits'iwa 0 0 15 37 N 39 29 E
Nacfa Northern Red Sea Zone Nakfa, Nac'fa, Nak'fa 1556 5108 16 40 N 38 29 E
Nefasit Northern Red Sea Zone 1991 6535 15 20 N 39 04 E
Om Hager Gash Barka Om Hajer, Umm Hajar, Om Hajer, Om Ager 599 1968 14 20 N 36 39 E
Senafe Debub Sen'afe 2364 7759 14 41 N 39 25 E
Tessenei Gash Barka Teseney 584 1919 15 08 N 36 40 E
Thio Southern Red Sea Zone T'i'o, Tiio, Tiyo 0 0 14 42 N 40 58 E
Zula Northern Red Sea Zone 22 75 15 15 N 39 40 E

 

 

Map of Eritrea showing the positions of the most relevant Eritrean towns and villages.

 

Eritrea - routes and distances

 

Asmara - Adi Quala
Adi Guadad 12 km Adi Akelas 71 km
Selae Da'ero 19 km Ahmni Haili 76 km
Sheketi 27 km Shega Ayamo 81 km
Debarwa (Dbarwa / Debarua) 36 km Denghwelo 85 km
Halhal (Halhale) 39 km Adelgese 88 km
Tera Emni (Teramni) 46 km Adi Quala (Adi Qala / Adi Kwala) 92 km
Guala 48 km Enda Gherghis 109 km
Shega Wedi Bisrat 51 km Ksad Ika 116 km
Mendefera (Adi Ugri) 60 km Mereb (Ethiopian border) 121 km
 
Asmara - Mensura
Kushet 8 km Ila Golma (Ela Golma) 58 km
Tsa'edakristyan 11 km Embed Bekeli 63 km
Tse'azega 17 km Mai Medef (Mai Medaf) 67 km
Adi Gheberu (Adi Gebru) 21 km Arha Go'ul (Arha Gu'ul) 77 km
Adi Warhiseb (Adi Worhiseb) 29 km Ghergher Wedi Chirwa 80 km
Mekarka (Mekerka) 32 km Inter Ghergher 84 km
Deki Shehaye 37 km Sherf Megawida 94 km
Melat Zanoy 46 km Mensura 106 km
Denagul 54 km
 
Asmara - Senafe
Adi Hawesha 14 km Endehush 88 km
Zegeb (Zegub) 17 km Adi Kuta 94 km
Waekerti 30 km Aba Selam 100 km
Awlih Tseru 33 km Ruba Adi Uwegra 105 km
Dekemhare (Decemhare / Decamere) 40 km Adi Keyh (Adi Kaieh / Adi Keih) 111 km
Afelba 50 km Tekonda 114 km
Degra 53 km Minak (Menak) 117 km
Ma'ereba 56 km Keskes 128 km
Segeneti (Seganeti / Segeneiti) 62 km Akeb Tarig 130 km
Degra Lebe'a 67 km Senafe 135 km
Digusa 71 km Dubdub 142 km
Adi Hadid 76 km Kisat Bruch 149 km
Mai Seraw 78 km Mai Tsehada 154 km
 
Mendefera - Adi Bahailai
Adi Aklas 12 km Emba Merach 26 km
Imni Haili 16 km Turke 32 km
Durko (Dirko) 19 km Kudo Abutsur 36 km
Adi Herwa (Adi Hurwa) 28 km Adi Bahailai 42 km
 
Mendefera - Qinafna
Kudo Felasi 4 km Emba Gelay 21 km
Deranto 10 km Endaba Shiuk 26 km
Debri 15 km Qinafna 36 km
 
Asmara - Tessenei
Adi Abeito 5 km Keren (Cheren) 91 km
Emba Derho (Embaderho) 12 km Tenkulahaz 97 km
Mai Menka 18 km Gordu 106 km
Serejeka 22 km Humed 109 km
Shima Negus 23 km Hagaz 116 km
Ade Kolem 25 km Aderde 132 km
Geshinashum 29 km Ingerne 154 km
Dekemhare Dembesan 35 km Agordat (Akurdet / Akordat) 172 km
Adi Teklezan 39 km Mogolo 202 km
Adi Keretz 47 km Barentu 237 km
Shindua 52 km Adi Keshi 268 km
Habrengaqha 58 km Gonjeh 272 km
Balua 61 km Haykota (Haicota) 307 km
Adi Berbere 64 km Tessenei (Teseney / Tessenai) 357 km
Elabered (Elabored) 68 km Adi Gedur 366 km
Ruba Anseba 75 km Telaka Asher 387 km
Halib Mentel 80 km Kassala 425 km
Derkok 83 km  
 
Asmara - Nacfa
Keren (Cheren) 91 km Gezgeza (Gz'Gza) 124 km
Humel Malo 106 km Afabet 157 km
Genfelam 114 km Nacfa (Nakfa) 227 km
 
Asmara - Solomona
Serejeka (Meleh) 21 km Sabur 54 km
Afdew 23 km Fatjoi 60 km
Kondoba 28 km Medhanid 61 km
Dekeseb 31 km Merama 66 km
Zagr (Zager) 33 km Filfil (Fil Fil) 68 km
Weki 34 km Wina 75 km
Adi Anagole 38 km Solomona 100 km
 
Assab - Kombelcha
Giwodo 25 km Tendaho 300 km
Banda 100 km Mili 330 km
Kantonera 150 km Ela Wuha 360 km
Elida 160 km Bahti 440 km
Baradiso 185 km Kombelcha 465 km
Sardo 200 km
 
Asmara - Zagr
Akria 3 km Zidishega 27 km
Adi Nefas 9 km Azen 28 km
Beleza 11 km Defere 33 km
Anza 16 km Zagr (Zager) 35 km
Quazen 23 km
 
Agordat - Sawa
Igber Mana 15 km Rubabar 70 km
Shegelet 30 km Yimel 85 km
Shatara 50 km Khieru (Gheru) 100 km
Mogo Rayb 70 km Sawa (Saua) 130 km
 
Tessenei - Um Hajer
Kurumdut 20 km Hilat 95 km
Kerset 30 km Um Hajer (Omhajer / Om Hager) 114 km
Guluj (Golluig) 45 km Humora 124 km
 
Asmara - Leban
Adi Rassi 18 km Mereb 26 km
Kutmo Awlih 21 km Himbirti 34 km
Abarda / Mai Nefhi 25 km Leban (Liban) 44 km
 
Asmara - Sula'ahefera
Debarwa (Dbarwa / Debarua) 36 km Adi Kune'el 47 km
Halhale 39 km Dekutsena 56 km
Adi Gheda 42 km Adi Nahabay 58 km
Adi Beshannes 44 km Adi Felesti 64 km
Amadir 55 km Sula'afera 72 km
 
Dekemhare - Mendefera
Querbarya 12 km Adi Rassi 21 km
Adi Ghena 17 km Tera Emni (Teramni) 29 km
Adi Nefas 18 km Mendefera (Adi Ugri) 44 km
 
Dekemhare - Tsorona
Mai Edaga 11 km Hadish Adi 43 km
Gura'e 15 km Kelai Ba'altet 48 km
Adi Nebri 25 km Atira 56 km
Gheniseba  37 km Tsorona 66 km
Mai Aini (Mai Aine) 38 km
 
Dekemhare - Nefasit
Keyh Kor 7 km Bazit 23 km
Selah 10 km Mai Habar 35 km
Gadien 17 km Nefasit / Debre Bizen 47 km
 
Mendefera - Molki
Awi Adi 10 km Adi Gordi 36 km
Adi Gurotto 21 km Areza (Arezza) 42 km
Adeba Abdu 27 km Mai Dima 60 km
Hatzina 30 km Molki 92 km
Deka Worasi 34 km
 
Asmara - Assab
Shegerni 8 km Zula 174 km
Arberebou 11 km Irafayle 194 km
Nefasit / Debre Bizen 25 km Ila Asa 206 km
Embatkala (Imbat Kalla / Embatcala) 37 km Ruba Dale 210 km
Ghinda 48 km Bordele 225 km
Dongolo (Dongollo) 52 km Ghela'elo (Galelo) 244 km
Dongolo Tahtay 59 km Akilo 253 km
Gahtielay( Gahtelay / Ghatelai) 73 km Burai 260 km
Mai Atal 85 km Mersa Fatuma (Mersa Fatma) 275 km
Dogali 94 km Garsai 289 km
Hitibelew 108 km Goro'roha 323 km
Mitsua (Massawa) 115 km Tio (Thio) 363 km
Hirghigo (Hirgigo) 130 km Idi (Iddi / Edi) 483 km
Lahzin 141 km Bera'esoli 553 km
Wi'a 155 km Beylul (Beilul) 613 km
Foro (Forro) 169 km Assab (Asseb / Aseb / Asab) 673 km
 

 

 
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