A country whose ancient cultures and magnificent landscapes reflect an extraordinary past that has left an indelible mark on the land, the people and their monuments. This is Ethiopia-it is a past that began at the beginning of time in the very birth place of mankind.
Religion has always been a major influence in Ethiopia. Certainly no country in Sub-Saharan Africa can trace its origins as far back Ethiopia is mentioned thirty there times in the holy bible and many times in the holy Qura’an. Perhaps this is the reason why so many visitors retrace the “historic route’, drawn by colorful stories and fantastic tales to the land once known as Abyssinia.
There is nothing in Sub-Saharan Africa and in a sense anything else in the world that prepares the visitor for the wealth of historical and cultural treasure, both ancient and living, contained in Northern Ethiopia. The historic routes pivot around four cities in the north, namely Axum, Lalibela, Gondar, Bahirdar and the walled city of Harar in the east, all are very different to others.
Arrival at Addis Ababa International airport and transfer to Hotel. If your arrival time permits you will have a sight-seeing tour of Addis Ababa. Overnight in a hotel.
After breakfast, you will drive to Bahir Dar (564 Km from Addis). En route, you will visit DebreLibanos Monastery (founded in the 13th century by priest Tekla Haimanot, today one of Ethiopia’s most renowned saints) & the museum. After 100km from DebreLibanos Monastery the road dropping more than 1000m, gradually winds down to the bottom of the Blue Nile Gorge, which is comparable in scale to American’s Grand Canyon cited to be the largest canyon in Africa. You will stop for lunch at Debre Markos. Then you will arrive in Bahir Dar (late afternoon). Overnight in a hotel.
After breakfast, you start driving some 35km south-east of Bahirdar to reach the small town of Tiss-Abay named after the waterfalls of the Blue Nile. Cross the small lake by boat to reach the panoramic view point of the waterfalls. The water from Lake Tana drops 150 feet to become the Nile in the Sudan almost 500 miles away. P.M. boat trip on Lake Tana to visit one of the most Interesting churches of the area- The Ura-KidaneMeheret and Azwa-mariam Churches. Overnight in a hotel.
Drive some 190kms to the historic town of Gondar which was the capital of Ethiopia in the 17th c. Here you will visit to the Royal Castles & the Bath of Emperor Fasiledes (the bath is filled with water for the important Timkat (epiphany) ceremony once a year. You will continue your visit to DebreBirhan Selassie Church (Trinity at the Mount of Light), the Castle of Empress Mintewab, and Kuskwam Complex which is a royal compound built by the Empress Mentewab. Overnight in a hotel.
After breakfast drive to Debarq (100 Km from Gondar) where the park headquarter found to get permission and scouts. Then continue to drive another 20km then make a short walk/trek and spend the day visiting the Simien Mountains National Park (registered by UNISCO as a world heritage site, with endemic & mammals, birds, natural vegetation, & wonderful landscape). Later in the early evening, you may make a short walk around Sankaber or rest. Overnight in a hotel.
Right after breakfast, an early morning drive will take you to Axum (270 Km from Debark) through the Simien Mountains & magnificent topography & scenery, the Limalimo Gorge, Tekeze Valley. You will arrive in Axum late in the afternoon. You will check into a hotel and take a break. Overnight in hotel.
Axum, also known as Aksum, is the name of one of the first civilization in human history. The Axumite dynasty is credited for, among other things, for being the first dynasty to accept Christianity in Ethiopia. It is also acknowledged to be the first dynasty to have its own written language in the country: Geez. Geez is a language still in use by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Here you will visit to the Stale of Axum, the Inscription of Ezana, Queen Sheba’s Palace, and the Famous St. Mary of Zion Church which is a home to the Ark of the Covenant. It still remains a mystery however since Axum Tsion church is guarded by a single monk with no exposure to the outside world (replaced by another only after his death) and no one else is allowed to go in, not even the Pope). Because no one has been allowed in there is no way to confirm whether the ark is actually there or not. Overnight in a hotel.
After breakfast, drive to Hawzien where you can see the rock hewn churches of Tigray. En route visit Yeha which is another historic place adorned with a set of attractive rock-pillars. Yeha is famous for its huge and remarkable temple. This temple is believed to date back to the 5th century before the birth of Christ. However, according to the 19th Century German scholar Heinrich Miller, the temple is thought to date back to about seven or eight hundred years before the birth of Christ. After Visiting Yeha temple keep on driving to Hawzien. Overnight in a hotel.
After breakfast, you will visit AbuneYemata is one of the most majestic and historical churches in Gheralta a village called Megab. It can be reached 5km drive from west of Megab and a further 30 minutes’ walk to the foot of the perpendicular rock mountains of Guh (name of the area). The interior of the church can be reached after climbing 5m tall vertical ascent where there are no ladders; no ropes and no hope if someone fall, and pass by a most terrifying narrow ledge carved in the cliff which is approximately 250m to 300m high. This rock is notable for its extensive and perfectly preserved wall and ceiling frescoes of Old and New Testament stories, thought to date from the 15th century. The annual festival is taken place on the 8th November. After that you will also visit Debre Mariam Korkor, Which is one of the biggest and most complex rock-hewn churches of Tigray situated in the village called Megab. About 1 and ½ hours walk and climb from the village it brings you to the white washed faced of a built structure church facing to the West. The interior part of this church is decorated with magnificent paintings such as paintings depicting Archangel Ruphael which is reported by Gerster to be “similar to the painting in the cathedral church of Faros”. And another painting on the Western wall shows the Virgin Mery with a circle around her abdomen which according Ivy Pearce indicates the development of Christ in Utero and such a theme was common one in 17th century Byzantine art.Overnight in a Hotel.
After breakfast, you will be driven to Lalibela (470 Km from Mekele) through the Ambalage Chain of Mountains. Your arrival in Lalibela will be late in the afternoon. Overnight in a hotel.
After breakfast you will start your visit to the famous rock churches of Lalibela-the “Ethiopian Jerusalem”. Each church (“Bet”) has a unique architectural style. All are superbly carved and most of them are decorated with well-preserved paintings. Visit the northern group of churches. Bet MedhaneAlem is the largest monolithic rock-hewn building in the world, supported by 72 pillars. Through a short tunnel you pass on to Bet Mariam. Bet Golgotha and Bet Mikael contain many important religious items. Bet Giyorgis is the last one of the churches, built after St. George appeared in the dream of King Lalibela. It displays the finest architecture in a good state of preservation. Overnight in a hotel.
Begin the morning with an excursion to YemerhaneKirstos cave church that is found some 12 miles outside of Lalibela through beautiful mountainous landscape of lasta region. Around 1071 AD, a powerful Christian king YemrehaneKirstos has ruled over the highlands of Ethiopia. Sometime during his reign, story has it that the king was led by a vision to build a church within a mountain cave in the highlands. Yemerehanekirstos church, the biggest symbol of the kingdom’s wisdom, still stands and attracts many visitors. It is not the fact that the church is built in a cave that makes YemrhaneKiristos unique. The church was built on a lake going through the cave. With a unique technique, the church was built to float on to the lake. Although the lake has dried out through time there are still holes around the church where monks used to get water, considered holy, out from inside the church is as fascinating as the outside, with every inch of the wall filled with beautiful carved biblical paintings. Then back Lalibela and have a lunch break. In the afternoon visit the rest group of churches. Overnight Hotel.
After breakfast, drive Kombolcha/dessie on the way visit the Hayik Estifanos Monastery and its museum. Overnight Hotel.
In the morning after breakfast drive back to Addis Ababa. On arrival in Addis Ababa, you will have shopping time for souvenirs and other traditional stuffs. In the evening you will be invited in one of Ethiopian traditional restaurant to taste Ethiopian food, drink and see the folkloric music and dances. End of Tour.
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