Lalibela, a medieval settlement in the Lasta area of Wello, lies at the centre of an extensive complex of rock churches.Lalibela has 11 remarkable rock-hewn monolithic, semi-monolithic and cave built churches, built by one of the Zagwe Dynasty rulers,King Lalibela in the late 12th and early 13th century.
These notable structures are carved, inside and out, out of one solid rock, and are the unofficial eighth wonders of the world. Each building is architecturally unique but each reflects beautifully executed craftsmanship, and several are decorated with fascinating paintings.
Gondar is 50 kilometers north of Lake Tana, 700 kilometers north of Addis Ababa and nestles in the foothills of the Semien mountains at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea level. Gondar, founded by King Fasiledes in 1936, was the capital of Ethiopia for nearly 200 years. This fact is reflected by the number of palace buildings in the castle compound.
Axum is an ancient town in northern Ethiopia. It lies at an elevation of about 2100 meters just west of Adwa in Tigrai region. Once the seat of the kingdom of Axum, it is now a tourist town and religious centre best known for its antiquities tall granite obelisks, 126 in all, stand (or lie broken) in the central square. Once measuring 33 meters, now fallen, is said to be the tallest obelisk ever erected. The obelisks range from nearly plain slabs to intricately inscribed pillars. Door and window-like shapes are carved into some of the pillars, giving them the appearance of slender buildings. The most recent of the obelisks announces the adoption of Christianity in the 4th century by king Ezana. At least 27 carved stone thrones have been unearthed in the overgrown ruins of the ancient palace.
Harar & Dire Dawa
Harar is located in the eastern part of the country and part of the historic circuits. The walled city of Harar is an ancient city with rich and colorful history.Harar is 523 kilometers east of Addis Ababa, the capital. The most dominant feature of Harar is its strong encircling wall, which embraces the town, its exciting market places, and its 99 mosques. Harar is the fourth holiest city after Makka, Madina and Jerusalem.Harar in the old days could be reached only by a long caravan or mule journey of many days, weeks, or months; today, however, the city is little more than an hours drive from Dire Dawa, a modern Ethiopian railway town, with an international airport and several first-class Government and private hotels.
Damo is unique and unforgettable although, as with most Ethiopian monasteries, women are not allowed to enter it. Even so, there is a daunting obstacle to the monastery: the only means of access is a climb of twenty-five meters up a sheer cliff. Monks lower a safety rope which visitors tie around their waists. Then they use a second, thicker rope to climb with. Some may reflect, as they make their way to the top, that because of this arduous, dangerous ascent the art treasures of Debra Damo have remained intact through the monastery-s 1,400 tumultuous years of history.
Negash is a small village located 60 Kms East of Mekele, the Capital of Tigray region. It is Anonymous with Islam as it is the place were the first mosque was constructed in Ethiopia.
It also serves as enduring reminder of the warm welcome extended by the Ethiopian king of the time when those Muslims including the family of the prophet Mohammed fled from persecution in their own land found refuge in Ethiopia during the early years of the Seventh century.
Ethiopia's earliest known capital, Yeha, is less than two hours' drive from Axum through some dramatic highland scenery. As the birthplace of the country's earliest high civilization, it is well worth visiting. To get there, head east for twenty kilometers (Bahar Dar is a town 12 miles ) to Adwa. Continue along the main road towards Adigrat for another twenty-four kilometers (15 miles) and then turn north on to a short dirt track, where you will see the imposing ruins of Yeha's Temple of the moon about four kilometers (2.5 miles) to the right of the track.
Bahir Dar is a modern small town on the southeastern shore of Lake Tana in the north of Ethiopia. It hosts the fabled Blue Nile falls, the beautiful highland Lake Tana and 14th-century island monastic churches.
It lays on a altitude of 1850 metres and has a very nice center with wide lanes, surrounded by palmtrees, lots of gardens and tropical flowers and plant.
From Bahir Dar you have to explore some of the ancient monasteries that have been built around Lake Tana or on the many islands in the lake. There are 37 islands dotted all over the lake and 30 of them house churches and monasteries of great cultural and historical interest. They contain beautiful manuscripts, objects of worship and crosses dating back to the dawn of Christianity.
Blue Nile Falls
Known locally as Tis Isat - 'Smoke of Fire' the Blue Nile Falls is the most dramatic spectacle on either the Blue Nile rivers. Four hundred metres (1,312 feet) wide when in flood, and dropping over a sheer chasm more than forty-five metres (150 Feet) deep the falls throw up a continuous spray of water, which drenches onlookers up to a kilometre away.
This misty deluge produces rainbows, shimmering across the gorge, and a small perennial rainforest of lush green vegetation, to the delight of the many monkeys and multicoloured birds that inhabit the area.
This part of Ethiopia is called the Danakil Depression, one of the remotest and lowest places in the world. It is a unique land formation within the Great Rift Valley system. Until today, this part of the earth is unstable pulling each other to the opposite side.
Erta Alle is particularly a unique Lave Crater Lake that erupts all the time. Erta Alle is the best place to study geology particularly the volcanic eruption, besides it has a great adventurous value.
Ethiopian Rift Valley
One of the most striking geographical features of Africa is a giant tear across the earth’s surface: the Great Rift Valley. Extending from the Middle East to Mozambique, the Rift Valley passes right through Ethiopia, endowing the country with some spectacular features that range form hot, dry, and barren places to a string of beautiful lakes.
Volcanic activity, which greatly contributed to the formation of the Rift Valley, continues up to present times. In Ethiopia, it finds expression in the presence of hot springs in many parts of the country, as well as volcanic cones in the Danakil Depression in the north-east.
Sof Omar, a tiny Muslim village in Bale (south east of Ethiopia), is the site of an amazing complex of natural caves, cut by the Weyb River as it found its way from the nearby mountains. The settlement, which is a religious site, is named after a local Sheikh.
Armed with torches and an official map, visitors to Sof Omar Cave make their way underground, far into the bowels of the earth, beside a subterranean stream, and there can see an extraordinary number of arched portals, high eroded ceilings and deep echoing chambers.
'Enkutatash' - Ethiopian New Year
The Ethiopian New Year falls in September at the end of the big rains. The sun comes out to shine all day long creating an atmosphere of dazzling clarity and fresh clean air. The highlands turn to gold as the Meskel daisies burst out in all their splendour. Ethiopian children clad in brand new clothes dance through the villages giving bouquets of flowers and painted pictures to each household.
'Timkat' - The Feast of Epiphany
This is the greatest festival of the year, falling on 19 January, just two weeks after the Ethiopian Christmas. It is actually a three-day affair, beginning on the Eve of Timkat with dramatic and colourful processions. The following morning the great day itself, Christ's baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist is commemorated. The third day is devoted to the Feast of St. Michael, the archangel, one of Ethiopia's most popular saints.
'Meskel' - The Finding of the True Cross
The festival of Meskel is second in importance only to Timkat and has been celebrated in the country for over 1,600 years. The word actually means "cross" and the feast commemorates the discovery of the Cross upon which Jesus was crucified by the Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. The original event took place on 19 March, AD 326, but the feast is now celebrated on 27 September.
Ethiopia is the earliest known home of humankind. A skeleton of an older human ancestor Australopithecus Afarensis was discovered in 1974 in the Afar region.