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Monday, 07 July 2014 09:00

Bahir-Dar, Gonder, Lalibela, and Axum

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Day 1: Arrive at Addis Ababa. O/N Ghion Hotel.

Day 2: After breakfast drive to Dessie (401km.), en route glimpse to Debre-Brehan (mount of light) 15th century town established by Emperor Zera Yacob. Stop at Ghemassa Ghedel where one can clearly observe the separation of the highland, i.e. Shewan plateau and the contrasting lowland, northern part of the rift valley. Probably a troop of Gelada baboon (endemic to Ethiopia) can be seen there. Then, continue your journey through the subway of Tarmaber, which was built by the Italians during their trial of occupation and glimpse at Wof-washa natural forest, which was seedling production center in the 15th century AD and, picnic lunch there. If the day is Sunday, that is a great opportunity to visit Senbete market where the Afar, the Argoba, the Amhara and the Oromo people who have their own traditional costume and decoration style gather for the market. O/N Ambassele Hotel at Dessie.

Day 3: After breakfast drive to Lalibela, this was the capital of the Zagwe dynasty, after the downfall of Aksumite Empire. En route, a short visit to the 9th century monastery of Haik Istifanos (st. Stephen). It was one of the most important monasteries. This monastery was the learning center of the royal family; for example, Emperor Yukuno Amlak was taught at that monastery, by Aba Iyesus Moa and was coroneted by the same father. Wooden water containers, wooden shackle, grinding stones and others are among the relics of the monastery to be seen there. A number of species of bird can be seen on the lakeshore. Another shortstop will be at Yismanigus, the place where Wuchale treaty, the immediate cause for the battle of Adwa was signed between the Italian representative Antoneli and Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia in1889. Lunch at Woldia and proceed to Lalibela. Dinner and over night in Roha hotel.

Day 4: After breakfast visit the first group of the magnificent rock-hewn churches of Lalibela which are carved out of living volcanic tuff with super architectural skill that the world has never seen, yet elsewhere. UNESCO registers these churches as world heritage. Among churches of this group Bete Medahine Alem (house of the redeemer) is the largest with 5 aisles, 72 pillars, vaulted dome and molding decoration. Bete Mariam (house of st. Marry) is the most decorated among the rock-hewn churches. After lunch, visit the second group of the rock-hewn churches; Bete Emanuel (house of Emanuel) is architecturally the finest. Bete Giorgis (the house of George) is the finest of all the churches in Lalibela for which reason art historians conclude that this church is carved at the end of the cluster, after the masons have developed their skill to carve the church in such extraordinary perfection. O/N Hotel.

Day 5: After early breakfast in the morning, trek on mule back or on foot to Asheton Mariam church on top of a hill, the first work of Lalibela (4 hours double trip). The site was not large enough to carve many churches and the rock type was not easily workable. So, he changed the place of carving to the present one and carved the church of st. Marry first and the others around it at the foot of the hill as we see them today. After lunch visit Nakuto La’ab cave church established by Emperor Nakuto La’ab, who reined after Lalibela. The emperor is said to be pious Christian who used to roll on sword on every Friday to memorize the passion of Christ. O/N Hotel.

Day 6: Drive to Mekelle, capital of Tigray National Regional State through Alamata panoramic terrain. Mekelle was important center of caravan trade where merchants who come from the hot salt extraction sites in Afar to take breath, to carve their salt bar in to manageable size and as temporary store. Visit the palace of Emperor Yohanes IV.O/n in a hotel.

Day 7: Drive to Adigrat, en route visit the 4th century semi-monolithic churches of Wukro Cherkos, and Abrha and Atsbeha said to be established by the time of the twin emperors Abrha and Atsbeha by Abune (father) Selama, whose hand cross is said to be kept at Abrha we Atsbeha church. In this church honey trickles down from the roof occasionally and this is said to be the miracle of the church, as the churchmen. O/N Sabagadis Hotel.

Day 8: After breakfast drive to Axum, en route visit Debre-Damo monastery, the first to be established, and unparalleled importance for the traditional religious education in that locality. The female can watch the ascending scene of males with the help of 16 meters leather rope that descended from the top by the monks but are not allowed to ascend. Then, visit Yeha temple of the moon (Pagan worshipping place), the oldest living monument in black Africa. Lunch at Adwa where the international victory of Adwa took place in 1896.In the after noon visit to Gobedra (4km.from the town) the place where the giant stele are carved. O/N Yeha Hotel.

Day 9: After breakfast, visit the ruin of imperial edifices of Caleb and his successor and son Gebre Meskel along with their tombs, the swimming pool of the legendary queen of Sheba and lunch at the hotel. In the afternoon, visit the church of st. Marry of Zion where the original Ark of the Covenant is said to have been kept, the main stele park where the huge monolithic stele whose transportation and erection is still remain undone assignment of archaeologists are found, and the archeological museum that displays artifacts excavated archeologically. O/N Hotel.

Day 10: After breakfast, drive to Gonder crossing Tekeze gorge that precipitates down by 2000m from the general elevation and through the Llimalimo gorgeous terrain, viewing the majestic Simen mountains that look as if they were gathered there for a meeting. Then, experience the contrasting cool highland weather on the plateau of Debarq known for cool weather crop production like wheat and barley; stop at Kossoye where one can see the Simen Mountains from close distance. O/N Goha Hotel.

Day 11: After breakfast visit the 17th century castles’ compound, registered by UNESCO as world heritage for the presence of those castles in such immense number and their architectural significance; Debre-Berhan Selesie Church highly decorated with mural paintings of portraits of angles and other biblical history. After lunch, visit the swimming pool of Emperor Fasil and the church of Qusquam where the crypts of King Iyoas and his grandmother, founder of the church, Queen Mintewab are located. The Scottish traveler James Bruce had sojourned at this church that was used as a residence of the founder as well. O/N Hotel.

Day 12: After breakfast, drive to Gorgora the northern shore of Lake Tana through the Dembia plain known for its hot weather crops, spice, honey production and cattle breeding. Visit the church of Debre Sina (mount of Sinai) rich in paintings situated on the shore and watch numerous aquatic birds. Lunch, at the breathtaking resort hotel with view of shore garden. In the afternoon drive back to Gonder. O/n in the hotel.

Day 13: After breakfast drive to Bahir-Dar on the way glimpse to the palace ruin of Emperor Sersa Dingile (16th century) at Infraz, over view the Fogera plain important for cattle breeding and irrigation, visit the Awra Amba village. This village is close to the high way and accessible by car all year round and is new site for tourism. These people have their own unique sub-culture in the context of the country; there is no duty segregation based on sex. After lunch in Bahir–Dar, visit the separation point of river Abay (Blue Nile) from Lake Tana and to Bezawit hill topped by the palace of Emperor Haile-Selassie I to view clearly the town along with its neighboring Blue Nile River and Lake Tana. O/N Tana hotel.

Day 14: Drive to Blue Nile falls (35km.south east of Bahir -Dar) through the 17th century bridge or by boat on the river (400-500 meters wide) before the water is diverted to the hydroelectric power station, watch a number of species of birds on the way along the riverine forest, and then enjoy the spectacular view of the fall that crushes down from 46 meters cliff. Then, back to Bahir –Dar for lunch. In the P.M boat trip to the Zeghe peninsula monasteries; Ura Kidane Mihret established in the 14th century and decorated by 17th century mural paintings and rich in manuscripts, royal belongings donated to it, and Kibran Gebrael/Entons Iyesus monastery. O/n in a hotel.

Day 15: After breakfast drive to Addis Ababa. En route, glimpse to the fertile plain of Gojam, cross the Blue Nile gorge (42 km. Long) that winds down by 2000 meters below the general elevation, starting just after Dejen. This gorge with semi-desert weather condition and plants witnesses that Ethiopia has diversified ecological zones and wildlife. Then, visit the ruin of a bridge called Portuguese bridge and the 13thc.monastery of Debre-Libanos one of the historically and religiously important monasteries and proceed to Addis Ababa through Central Shewan plateau.

Read 34445 times Last modified on Tuesday, 08 July 2014 09:32

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