Karat is a town in south-western Ethiopia and the capital of the Konso Zone in the new South Ethiopia Regional State. Situated 20 km north of the Sagan River, this town has a latitude and longitude of 5°15′N 37°29′E and an elevation of 1,650 metres (5,410 ft). It is also called Pakawle by some of the neighboring inhabitants. The town and the surrounding villages were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2011 as a cultural landscape for its unique cultural traditions and importance for the Konso people.

Oral traditions of the Konso people suggest that they migrated to the region roughly 400 years ago, which is supported by the number of generations (21) noted since the first ritual chief.[1] In 1897, Menelik II took over the city.[2]

Father Azaïs presented the Waga (wa'kka) statues in 1931. In 1956, Murdock associated the archeological megaliths of the town to a cushitic signature. In Kluckhohn's Markets of Africa published in 1962, the author traces high levels of ancient economic developments in the city. In 1984, Amborn studied the historic labor-intensive agricultural techniques of the region.[2]

The site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on September 30, 1997 due to its purported universal cultural significance and official made a World Heritage Site in 2011.[3] Konso is the first place in Ethiopia recognized as a "cultural landscape".[4]

A permaculture farm, Strawberry Fields Eco-Lodge, was founded in 2007 north of town and works with international volunteers and three local schools to grow food, promote ecotourism, and provide permaculture education.[5]

^ Konso (Ethiopia): No. 1333rev (Report). International Council on Monuments and Sites. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2021. ^ a b Shako Otto, Traditional Konso culture and the missionary impact, Persee.fr, 2005 ^ Konso-Gardula (paleo-anthropological site) - UNESCO World Heritage Centre ^ Ethiopia: Konso People Celebrate UNESCO World Heritage Support Archived 2022-07-05 at the Wayback Machine, Christensenfund.org, 1 August 2012 ^ "Strawberry Fields Eco-Lodge - An Adventure of a Stay" Archived 2010-09-15 at the Wayback Machine, Make Travel Fair UK website (accessed 15 January 2011)
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