country capital. architectural landmark
Whether you came to Ethiopia for a business, conference or whatever you have a purpose rather than your Holiday time, why not use this great opportunity for visiting one of the top attractions of Ethiopia – The Lalibela Rock churches. Carved out of solid rock in the 12th century, the churches are described by UNESCO as a World Heritage site and considered as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’. To fill the spiritual void created by the inability to go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, King Lalibela, took it upon himself to construct “New Jerusalem” here at home and built a number of Rock Churches. This finally evolves the city of Lalibela as a Holy city and the local Christian followers believed that pilgrims to Lalibela shared the same blessings as pilgrims to Jerusalem. If you are looking a couple of days visiting the ancient city of Lalibela for those remarkable rocks cut churches this trip will perfect for you.
Addis was founded in 1886 by Menelik II, and situated at an elevation of around 2438m which makes third highest capital city in the world. Addis Ababa enjoys an excellent climate all year round, with an average temperature of 25°C. We will start our site-seeing by National museum which houses some of the country’s historic treasures. The collection of fossils and bones of early hominids discovered in Ethiopia include the 3.5 million year old remains of ‘Lucy’, the oldest hominid every found. Proceed visiting to the two major highlights of the city, the Ethnographic Museum and the church of the Holy Trinity, Ethiopia’s main cathedral and home to the remains of the last emperor, Haile Selassie.
FLY TO LALIBELA; VISIT ROCK CUT CHURCHES
We take a short flight to Lalibela and visit the first cluster of Rock Hewn churches in the afternoon. Lalibela, the ‘New Jerusalem’, is thought to have been constructed some 800 years ago by King Lalibela. Lalibela was his capital city, but today it is a small village. Although churches carved in rock are found in other parts of the world, those found in Ethiopia are particularly interesting. Generally, they were excavated on all sides of a rectangle, leaving a large block of granite isolated in the centre. This rock was then shaped and formed both inside and out and the carvings show extremely skillful workmanship and they have been classified as one of the wonders of the world . Each church has a unique architectural style and all are superbly carved. There are 11 rock-cut churches of which the most impressive is Bet Giorgis. It is carved in the form of a Greek cross and It is exceptionally well preserved.
Today we will visit the church of Yimrhane Kristos. This exquisite church, a masterpiece of Axumit wood and stone construction is renowned for its interior decoration, it’s beautiful wooden coffer ceiling inlaid with hexagons and medallions with both figurative and geometric motifs. Drive back to Lalibela. In the afternoon, we will visit the remaining rock-hewn churches of Lalibela that include the churches of Bete Gabriel and Rafael, Merkorous, Emanuel and Abba Libanos. Bete Emanuel is the best in this group and exceptionally carved with unique Axumite building features, such as the indentations on the walls, symbols of the multi-storey building taken from the stelae of Axum, monkey heads and false windows. The rest of the day is spent absorbing the atmosphere of this extraordinary town with its Tukul or round houses.
FLY BACK TO ADDIS ABABA
This morning we fly back to Addis. The afternoon is free for last minutes shopping and exploring of the city. In the evening we will have a fare well dinner in one of the Ethiopian restaurants for traditional dinner and live stage dances from the different ethnic groups. Then transfer to the airport for your departure to Home or for your next destination. Tour End!
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Chewua Sefere, Gondar Town
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