Rock-hewn churches, dramatic and imposing mountain plateaus and surprising wildlife
Our Top Destinations in Ethiopia
Our Ethiopia Tours
Activities in Ethiopia
Top 5 Ancient Sites in Ethiopia
The Monasteries at Lake Tana: Studded with 37 islands, Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and home to 19 monasteries, many of which date back to the13th century. On our Ethiopia trip, a boat tour of the islands steers you between the islands where you can step inside some of these beautiful buildings and learn about their history. Many adorned with colourful murals, the monasteries once housed religious artifacts and ancient treasures. Among the most notable monasteries are Debre Maryam, Narga Selassie, and Tana Qirgos, which, according to local history, is believed to be where the Ark of the Covenant was stored.
The Palaces and Castles of Gondar: Located in Gondar, the UNESCO-listed Fasil Ghebbi is a fortress city that was once home to the emperor Fasilides. This fascinating site houses the fortress ruins and other 16th and 17th-century monasteries and palaces that can be found in the city of Gondar. Up until the mid-19th century, the fortress city was the centre of the Ethiopian government. The main castle has been well-preserved and is an impressive piece of medieval history.
Axum Stelae: Stealing the show on Axum’s skyline, the towering granite obelisks known as stelae were thought to have been erected as markers for underground burial chambers. The tallest stelae that still stands is the Obelisk of Axum, which towers at 24 metres high, weighs in at 160 tonnes and features two false doors and decorative windows. For 1,000 years it had stood in place until it was stolen from the Ethiopians in the 1930s. Unbelievably, it was rediscovered by Italian soldiers and transported to Rome where it remained until 2008 before finally being returned to Ethiopia. Even in modern times, erecting these impressive structures isn’t an easy feat so to witness them first hand is mind-blowing.
Medhane-Alem Adi Kesho: Also referred to as Adi Kesho, Medhane-Alem Adi Kesho is one of the oldest and most beautiful of the rock-hewn churches in Tigray. On our Ethiopia holiday you’ll have the opportunity to take a look inside this curious church where you can see the roughly hewn walls that provide a stark contrast against the elaborately carved and wonderfully frescoed ceiling.
The Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela: Carved into the mountainous landscape in the heart of Ethiopia, these medieval monolithic churches are a must-see on any Ethiopia tour. It’s said that they were constructed for King Lalibela in the 12th century as he wished to create a New Jerusalem. To see how these structures were created complete with doors, windows, roofs and drainage ditches is simply fascinating. The Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela are well-preserved and give an insight into the religious heritage of Ethiopia.
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