The countries of the Horn of Africa have been the birthplace of many ancient, as well as modern, cultural achievements in several fields including agriculture, architecture, art, cuisine, education, literature, music, technology and theology to name but a few.
Ethiopian agriculture established the earliest known use of the seed grass Teff(Poa abyssinica) between 4000-1000 BCE. Teff is used to make the flat bread injera/taita. Coffee also originates in Ethiopia and has since spread to become a worldwide beverage. Ethiopian art is renowned for the ancient tradition of Ethiopian Orthodox Christian iconography stretching back to the wall paintings of the 7th-Century C.E. Somali architecture includes the Fakr ad-Din Mosque, which was built in 1269 by the first Sultan of Mogadishu.Ethiopia, too is renowned for its ancient churches, such as at the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Lalibela.
The Horn has produced numerous indigenous writing systems, most notably the script known as Ge'ez (??? G???z), (also controversially called Ethiopic) for 2000 years. It is an abugida script that was originally developed to write the Ge'ez language. In speech communities that use it, such as the Amharic and Tigrinya, the script is called fidäl (???), which means "script" or "alphabet".
In the early twentieth century, in response to a national campaign to settle on a writing script for the Somali language (which had long since lost its ancient script), Osman Yusuf Kenadid, a Somali poet and leader in the MajeerteenSultanate of Hobyo and nephew of Sultan Yusuf Ali Kenadid, also devised a phonetically sophisticated alphabet called Osmanya for representing the sounds of Somali. Though no longer the official writing script in Somalia, the Osmanya script is available in the Unicode range 10480-104AF [from U+10480 - U+104AF (66688–66735)].
The Somali writer Nuruddin Farah has also garnered acclaim as perhaps the most celebrated writer ever to come out of the Horn of Africa. Having published many short stories, novels and essays, Farah's prose has earned him, among other accolades, the Premio Cavour in Italy, the Kurt Tucholsky Prize in Sweden, and in 1998, the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature. In the same year, the French edition of his novel Gifts also won the St. Malo Literature Festival's prize.
The music of the Ethiopian highlands uses a unique modal system called qenet, of which there are four main modes:tezeta, bati, ambassel, and anchihoy. Three additional modes are variations on the above: tezeta minor, bati major, and bati minor. Some songs take the name of their qenet, such as tezeta, a song of reminiscence.
In the field of technology, the Great Stele of Axum, at over 100 feet (30 m) long, was the largest single stone ever quarried in the ancient world.