Ethiopia has a proud and long history extending
to the known beginnings of humankind. The Axumite kingdom was one of
the great civilizations of the ancient world and has left behind the
mystery of the great Stellae found at Axum. In the late middle Ages
great religious civilizations flourished in many parts of the
country, particularly at Lalibela where churches hewn out of massive
monolithic rock testify not only to great faith but also to great
And in the former capital of Gondar many
significant castles speak of the same legacy. All these would be
enough to make Ethiopia a fascinating place to visit and travel
through, but Ethiopia has so much more to offer.
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
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
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
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.
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
The city’s main imperial precinct,
known as the Royal Enclosure, covers an area of 7.7 hectares and
contains five castles raised walkways and connecting tunnels
surrounded by high stone walls. The oldest of these is the Castle of
Fasiledes, built of stone in the mid-17th century, reflecting a
number of influences, mainly Axumite, Portuguese and Indian.
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
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
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.
The ruins of this large, pre-Christian temple,
erected around the fifth century BC, consist of a single roofless
oblong chamber 20 meters (66 feet) along by 15 meters (50 feet)
wide. The windowless 10 meters high walls are built of smoothly
polished stones, some of them more than 3 meters long, carefully
placed one atop the other without the use of mortar.
Historical Sites are available HERE.
The Ert Ale
Ert Ale Mountain (the active basaltic shield
volcano) in Afar is another great hike but it is definitely not
in the highlands. In fact, it is said to be the only land
volcano in the world found below sea level.
Dalol with its intensely colourful rock
brine coloured stones is something not to be
Ethiopia is a land of natural
contrasts, from the tops of the rugged Simien Mountains to the
depths of the Danakil Depression, at 120 meters below sea level one
of the lowest dry land points on earth. The cornucopia of natural
beauty that blesses Ethiopia offers an astonishing variety of
landscapes: Afro-Alpine highlands soaring to around 4,300 metres,
moors and mountains, the splendor of the Great Rift Valley,
white-water rivers, Savannah teeming with game, giant waterfalls,
dense and lush jungle... the list is endless.
Ethiopia's many national parks
enable the visitor to enjoy the country's scenery and its wildlife,
conserved in natural habitats, and offer opportunities for travel
adventure unparalleled in Africa.
The wildlife consists mainly of East African plains animals, but
there are now no giraffe or buffalo. Oryx, bat-eared fox, caracal,
aardvark, ccolobus and green monkeys, Anubis and Hamadryas baboons,
klipspringer, leopard, bushbuck, hippopotamus, Soemmerings gazelle,
cheetah, lion, kudu and 450 species of bird all live within the
park's 720 square kilometres.
of natural attractions HERE.
Ethiopia, an old country beyond
all imaginations, has culture and traditions dating back over 3000
years. With over 80 different Ethnic groups with their own language,
culture and traditions. The strong religious setting, celebrations
and festivals play an important part in every ones daily life.
Church ceremonies are a major
feature of Ethiopian life. The events are impressive and unique. The
Ethiopian Orthodox Church has its own head, follows its own customs,
and is extremely proud of its fourth century origins.
Ethiopia's Islamic tradition is also strong and offers colorful
contrast, particularly in the eastern and south-eastern parts of the
country. In fact, there were Ethiopian Muslims during the lifetime
of Prophet Mohammed. This rich religious history is brought to life
in the romantic walled city of Harar, considered by many Muslims to
be the fourth "Holy City" following Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem.
HERE for more