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Gendebelo (also called Gende Belo) was an ancient Muslim trading city in Ethiopia. Its location was discovered in 2009 by a team of French archaeologists.[1]


Gendebelo was a medieval Muslim trading center thought to be lost.[1] It was believed to situated about 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Ankobar.[2] Gendebelo was "a great mercantile city", where camel caravans brought all kinds of spices except ginger (which was grown locally) from the port of Zeila.[2] Although Ethiopia is known as the second oldest Christian country in the world, about half of its population is Muslim.[1] Gendebelo was a place of peaceful trade between the Christian and Muslim cultures.[3]


In 2009, French archaeologists François-Xavier Fauvelle-Aymar and Bertrand Hirsch[4] discovered the site as a medieval city now known as Nora, which has been abandoned for years except for the mosque.[3]

An old Ajami manuscript helped the archaeologists determine the city's location.[3][4] Italian scholar and Ethiopia expert Enrico Cerulli had found the manuscript in the Muslim city of Harar in 1936, where it was being used to wrap sugar.[3][4] The archaeologists also used the writings of Alessandro Zorzi, a 16th-century Venetian explorer who had found the ruins of Gendebelo in the desert and referred to it as "the place where mules are to be unloaded and camels take over."[3][4]


  1. ^ a b c "Lost city, Gendebelo, found in Ethiopia". topix. 8 August 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2009.[dead link]
  2. ^ a b Pankhurst, Richard. The Ethiopian Borderlands, Essays in Regional History from Ancient Times to the End of the Eighteenth Century. p. 115. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Lost city, Gendebelo, found in Ethiopia". 7 August 2009. Archived from the original on 10 August 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d "Ethiopia - Quest For a Lost Muslim City". Daily Trust. 29 July 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2009.

External links[edit]

  • CNN Traveler "Lost and Found, The recent discovery of the remains of a number of ancient cities in Ethiopia has rekindled debate about the country’s remarkable past. Yves Stranger reports."