Ethiopia-Konso cultural landscape

  • Country: Ethiopia
  • Related Congress: 13th Congress, Dakar

The Konso cultural tradition has been occupied for over four centuries and spans over 21 generations in the arid region of the Konso cultural landscape. Its cultural landscape is a 55 km2 cultural site and is constituted by several cultural properties of remarkable tangible heritage. The Konso cultural prosperities include 12 stone walled terraces (Paleta) and thatch-roofed huts (cultural space), the generation pole (Olayta), the ward system (Kanta), the Mora (Cultural space) and the architecture of stone walling (Kabata). The landscape is associated with sacred places such as the forest and shrines which indicate the shared ethos, social cohesion and the constructive knowledge of the community. The Konso are known for their tradition of erecting Wakas –memorial statues for dead man who are honoured for having killed an enemy or a feline. The traditional arrangement of the carved stelaes in a group resembles the man, his wives and conquers adversaries, a tradition on the verge of disappearing.

The Terraces are an agricultural adaptation strategy to reduce soil erosion and maintain the fertility and moisture of the soil thus creating a saddle for agriculture. They are arguably the main features of the Konso cultural landscape, contouring the hills and reaching as high as 5m at certain places. The Paleta or the walled town are the settlements that the Konso people live in and they are strategically built on high hills for military reasons. The Mora are located in the centre of the settlement and at different localities within the ringed wall surrounding the central enclosure. The individual stone walled town (Paleta) has approximately 17 Moras connected to one another by footpaths and they resonate with the social cohesion and shared values of the Konso people. The Konso cultural landscapes possess universally remarkable beauty of simple workmanship of the Konso villages constructed entirely from natural material.

Back to search