Eritrea is a friendly and relaxed country to visit, where you are soon made to feel at home. It has a great deal to offer – from Asmara, the capital, with its array of bars and cafés in wide, palm-lined streets, to the beautiful mountain scenery, miles of unspoilt white sandy beaches along the coast, the near biblical market at Keren and a number of historical sites dating back to the Axumite Kingdom.Â
The emergence of Eritrea as an independent, self-reliant, working state is a testament to the resolution of the people of Eritrea and their considerable organizational skills. Their currency, introduced in November 1997 to replace the Ethiopian Birr, is named after the remote mountain retreat of Nakfa, the symbol of resistance to Ethiopian occupation, where the rebels survived 10 years of shelling from the Ethiopian army. In May 1998 a border dispute with Ethiopia led to armed conflict and bombing raids. The two countries signed a peace agreement in December 2000 but the borders are still closed, and it is uncertain as to when they will reopen.