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Monday, 07 July 2014 09:01

Historic route including Tigray Rock- hewn Churches

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This route leads to the place where the ancient and the medieval Ethiopian civilization were borne. To mention only few Damat state in B.Cs which had relation with the outside world, Aksumite Empire from 2nd B.C. to the 7th A.D, centered at Aksum, the Zagwe dynasty centered at Lalibela, Gonder starting from the 17th century etc are some of the many historical places that bear traces of the then civilization in the areas.

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

Day 2: Fly to Mekelle the Capital of Tigray National Regional State. This place was important center of caravan trade where merchants who came from the hot salt extraction sites in Afar to take breath, to carve their salt bar in to manageable size and as temporary store. Then, Visit the palace of Emperor Yohanes IV, the patriots’ memorial monument and other parts of the city. 
O/N Axum Hotel.

Day 3: After breakfast drive to Gherelta Lodge en route visit the semi-monolithic church of Wukro Cherkos. This church according to the church’s officials was established in the 4th century. This church is cruciform in plan and has 23 handsomely carved freestanding pillars. It is decorated with 15th century mural paintings, arches, bas-reliefs and capitals. Then the other semi-monolithic church of Abrha and Atsbeha again said to be hewn in the 4th century in the time of the twin emperors Abrha and Atsbha is worth visiting. It is decorated with mural paintings that describe the biblical scenes. O/N Ghreaelta Lodge.

Day 4:  In A.M. visit, the church of Abune (father) Abraham / Debre-Tsion. This church is situated on top of the escarpment overlooks the Dighum and Hawzien plain. It is monolithic and rectangular in shape. This church is abundantly painted especially the dome is adorned with patterns. After lunch, visit the church of Yohanes Maqudi that takes about an hour walk. This fascinating and strangely painted church can be reached after challenging climbing. O/N Lodge.

Day 5: After breakfast, drive to Megab and Visit the church of Mariam Quorqor. This rock-hewn church has 6 pillars with capitals. The arches and the ceiling are decorated with bas-relief and paintings. This church is also rich in parchments and manuscripts. After lunch, visit Abune (father) Yemata, (4km.drive and about 40 minutes walk) from the campsite. The ascending of this rock mountain that seems the pillar to the sky, closer to the moon than to the earth through footholds and handgrips in the rock faces is challenging. But, on the top one will enjoy visiting the renowned church for its paintings, the splendor view and unusual experience at unusual place. Descend to the campsite for dinner and overnight. O/N Lodge.

Day 6: After breakfast drive to Axum, en route visit Debre-Damo monastery, the first to be established, and has 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 they are not allowed to ascend. Then, visit Yeha the 5thBC temple of the moon, the oldest living monument in black Africa, and lunch at Adwa where the brilliant international victory of Adwa took place in 1896. O/N Yeha Hotel.

Day 7: After breakfast, Visit the swimming pool of the legendary queen of Sheba, the ruin of imperial edifices of Caleb and his successor and son Gebre Meskel along with their tombs, and in the afternoon the church of st. Marry of Zion where the original Ark of the Covenant is said to be 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, in the p.m. O/N Yeha Hotel.

Day 8: After breakfast, drive to Gonder crossing the captivating Tekeze gorge that precipitates down by 2000m from the general elevation and through the Llimalimo glamorous panorama, viewing the majestic Simen mountains. 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 watch the Simen Mountains from close distance. O/n in Goha hotel at Gonder.

Day 9: 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; portraits of angles and other biblical history in the, and after lunch the swimming pool of Emperor Fasil and the church of Qusquam where the crypts of King Iyoas and his grand mother Queen Mintewab are located and the Scottish traveler James Bruce had sojourned. O/n in Goha hotel.

Day 10: After breakfast, drive to Gorgora the northern shore of Lake Tana through the Dembia plain known for its hot weather crops production and cattle breeding. Visit the church of Debre Sina (mount of Sinai) situated on the shore and watch aquatic birds. Lunch at the breath taking resort hotel, shore garden. In the afternoon drive back to Gonder. O/n in Goha hotel.

Day 11: After breakfast drive to Bahir-Dar on the way glimpse to the palace ruin of Emperor Sersa Dingile (16th century) at Infraz, a short pause at Tara Gedam the remaining of the natural forest in the locality can be seen. Over view the Fogera plain important for cattle breeding and irrigation. 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 in Tana hotel.

Day 12: 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 hydropower station, watch a number of species of birds on the way along the riverine forest, and then enjoy the splendor view of the that crushes from 46 meters cliff. Then, back to Bahir –Dar for lunch. In the after noon boat trip to the Zeghe peninsula monastery, Ura Kidane Mihret established in the 14th century and decorated by 17th century mural paintings, and Kibran Gebrael/Entons Iyesus monastery. O/n in a hotel.

Day 13: 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 level. 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 that is one of the historically and religiously important monasteries and proceed to Addis Ababa through Central Shewan plateau.

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