Cultures In North Africa That Have Been Lost To Civilization

“The Berber People”

The Berber People

Named this way, the history of this nomadic civilization that was present in the west side of the Nile Valley is very extensive and also diverse. They are non-Arabic tribes related only by culture and language but with no fixed territory. They inhabited the region for such a huge amount of time that was even referenced by the Egyptians under the name of Temehu (3,000 BC). There has never been a political unity among them, we can´t speak even today about a Berber Empire, but many that have lived along with each other for thousands of years.

The Berber lands have always been very important since they were crossroads for all the people trading between Africa. The Middle East and the South of Europe.

Because of this and their nomadic kind, the Berbers have mixed with many ethnic groups and hence can be recognized because of the language they speak rather than the distinct facial features among them. Actually, the language they share is one of the oldest known to man.

“The Kingdom Of Aksum”

The Kingdom Of Aksum

Have you ever heard of the Rastafari movement? Well, they are not just a group of reggae listeners, they worship their messiah named Haile Selassie I, the last Emperor of Ethiopia, the only country in the whole of Africa that wasn´t dominated by Europe. They have created their own version of the Christian faith and claim that their royalty is the product of an affair between the Queen of Sheba and none other than King Solomon, meaning that they descend directly from the Biblical House of David.

Now, it´s well-known among historians that in the 13th Century, an Amhara noble who claimed to be descendent from the Iron Age dynasty called Aksum founded the Solomonic dynasty. This noble, named Yekuno, was the one who gave birth to the legend that the bastard son of King Solomon and Queen of Sheba founded Aksum. Haile Selassie, the Messiah, was a member of the Solomonic dynasty

Much like the Ethiopians do nowadays, the inhabitants of the Aksum kingdom, the Aksumites spoke a Semitic language. The kingdom is also widely connected with modern Israel and features a very large population of Jews from an indigenous kind (also known as the Beta Israel).

The olden Kings of Aksum had brought much of what we now know as Yemen, Sudan and Ethiopia under their control around 3rd and 4th centuries AD as well as smaller percentages of Saudi Arabia and Egypt and was one of the four greatest empires humankind has ever gotten to know along with ancient China, Roman, and Persian.

Jewish queen Yodit overthrew Aksum in the 10th Century. Regardless of this, the legacy in terms of politics and culture survived more than a millennium to the present date. Institutions such as the Amhara people, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the line connecting the Solomonic dynasty to the ancient Judea come from the memories of a huge empire.

Foods That Can Only Be Found In the Middle East

As we all know, the globalized world we live in every day has blended all cultures and found new market niches to commercialize foreign food in virtually every country in the world.

Globalized Mutations

Since migration is so common nowadays, it´s fairly easy for any global citizen to find pairs and a restaurant to go eat and have fun, regardless of the city in the world they are currently at. One very interesting phenomenon is that the lack of some specific ingredients to prepare certain recipes makes the imagination of chefs and cooks go wild and give birth to brand new combinations based on ancient knowledge: the famous globalized mutations. This being said, we can´t assure you these would be something that can´t be found anywhere outside the country of origin but are things you should definitely try if you come across with them.

Tagine

This particular dish takes the name from the recipient (pot) it is cooked in. It is a North African traditional tribal dish found in several countries like Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. Vegetables and meat are cooked together in the same container only in the liquids each ingredient releases during the cooking. No extra water is added and the entire vapor generated within the pot is condensed in its conical hat ‘raining’ over and adding up to the natural juices. This delight is often served with some couscous, which is very similar to rice.

Kefta

It might sound familiar because of the utterly known kofta that the Indian cuisine has made famous around the world. The kefta is previous, a predecessor that comes in a simpler but equally tasteful presentation: simple ground meat (it can be lamb or cow) seasoned only mildly with parsley and paprika. Once it is prepared, It is grilled like a kebab and served (just with no gravy).

Mujaddara

If you like cumin, you´re going to love this dish, it uses heavy doses in its preparation. It is an ideal meal for a cold winter evening made of rice and lentils, which are cooked together along with a huge combination of spices including cumin. This is only the bottom part of this dish which is artistically topped with some crispy fried onions that make that ideal contrast of crunchy and soft, stewed, heavily spiced lentils and rice.

Boreks

Historically, the Turkish cuisine has not received the attention it deserves. This phyllo dough snack can be filled with an endless variety of fillings including heavily seasoned meat, spinach with cheese and as many others as the imagination can go. These savory pastries do make a great snack but also, in larger quantities, can turn into a lunch or a dinner.

Ballouria

Did anyone say dessert? Well, this is a pastry that can work as a snack for some middle-of-the-night trip to the fridge or a great after-dinner delight. It features a wheat covering, an astonishing amount of pistachios and is completely drenched in treacle. As a snack or as a desert, this is an awesome sweet thing to have around.

The Left Outs

We haven´t included the most popular ones like Shawarma, tabbouleh, hummus, baklava, and falafels because that´s something anyone can buy and try almost anywhere in the world.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try these suggestions and you won´t go wrong.