Orthodox pilgrimage Sites
Day 1: ADDIS ABABA
Arrive at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. Transfer to Hotel.
Day 2: Visiting Religious Sites of Addis Ababa
Sightseeing tour of Addis to visit Ethiopian Orthodox Churches that Includes the Trinity Cathedral: -a beautiful church with a baroque style of European architecture which is unique to both Ethiopia and Africa and is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Here you will find scripts of the imperial families, across the front of the church you will see statues done by a Greek sculpture of Matthew (from left to right) Mark, Luck, and John-the authors of the four Gospels. And inside of the church you will visit Stained glass window paintings from the Old and New Testament in the Bible and coffins of Emperor Haile Silassie-I and his wife; the founder of the church in 1941 in memory of the Ethiopian patriots who fought against the Italians.
Next Be’ata Mariam Church:-lying to the south of the old Menelik Palace, it is also known as Menelik’s Mausoleum, where you will visit the stone graves of Menelik II, Empress Tiytu-Menelik,s wife, Empress Zewditu-Menelik’s daughters the founder of the church in 1911, and you also visit different wall paintings inside of the church. The mausoleum is made of grey stone surmounted by a large gilt crown with four small cupolas on each corner. Entoto St. Mary church: – where Emperor Menelik crowned Emperor in it the church itself built by Emperal Menelik II in 1882.Here you will also have a panoramic view of the city on the top of mount Entoto-3200 meters the highest peak of the city. St. George Cathedral Church With its Museum: – this outstandingly beautiful traditional octagonal church was built by Emperror Menelik II in1896 in commemoration of Ethiopia’s victory over the Italian at the battle of Adwa. Overnight Hotel.
Day 3: ADDIS-DEBRE LIBANOS MONASTERY-ADDIS:
After breakfast drive 103 km to the north from Addis a right hand turn leads to the ancient monastery of Debre Libanos- where you will visit the Monastrey. It has beautiful stained glass windows and before you enter, it is worth noting the mosaic figures on the façade. It was built by Abune Tekle Haymanot,the 13th century holy man, who stood on one leg for 7-years in a cave at Debre Libanos. Nearby an old ‘Portuguese bridge’ is visible from the main road. Drive back to Addis for overnight at Hotel.
Day 4: ADDIS-BAHAR DAR:
Transfer to Bole International airport to fly to Bahar Dar, is a modern town on the shore of Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile River that contains about 37 islands. After check into Tana Hotel in the afternoon enjoy a boat ride on Lake Tana to visit the famous ancient island monastery of Ura Kidane Meheret that is one of the several in the area containing frescos, elaborate painted ceilings, church crosses, crowns and attires of former Ethiopian kings and emperors. Continuing to the southern end of the heart shaped lake, the island Kebran Gabriel Monastery, it was built in 14th century A.D. and reconstructed in late 17th century A.D., in this monastery some of the rare true Ethiopian frescoes are preserved this church also owns many manuscripts, especially old ones-an outstanding one has been reproduced in the UNESCO album (females are not allowed to visit Kebran Gabriel Monastery). In most of Lake Tana monasteries time has stood still and the world of the Old Testament yet alive. In the evening return back to Bahar Dar. Overnight hotel.
Day 5: BAHAR DAR:
After breakfast, drive to Lake Tana to make the 2nd day boat excursion to visit the ancient monasteries of Narga Silassie & Dega Istifanos.
Narga Silassie – this large round church was built under the reign of Empress Mentuab in 18th century A.D., there are many well preserved wall paintings. There are also two remarkable and picturesque “water gates” on the opposite shores, to the west and the east, with square, two storey towers, very similar to the style of the Gondar Castles, which lead on a paved path from the water to the church. Dega Istifanos- it is a rectangular building similar to the Debre Berhan Sillassie church at Gondar. The present building is modern and was reconstructed after the reign of Emperor Yohannes IV (1868-1889). It has modern wall painting and a fragment of an old painting on the outer northern wall. In a special building near the church, the bodies of several of the Ethiopian Emperors are preserved. Late in the afternoon, back to Bahar Dar for overnight at Hotel.
Day 6: BAHAR DAR:
After breakfast drive to Lake Tana to make the 3rd day boat excursion to visit the ancient monastery of Tana Cherkos- this church lies on the eastern shore of the lake, tradition tells us that St. Mary rested here under a wall during her flight to Egypt and stayed for three months and ten days. The monks claim that they owned a necklace which she left when she departed. It is also said that the monastry was a sacred place of the Jews. Menelik I and the Jewish nobles, after fleeing from King Solomon, brought the Ark of the Covenant to this monastery and built a temple over it, which was decorated with whole-bone and precious stones. Six hundred years later, the Ark was brought to Axum. Back to Bahar Dar for overnight Hotel.
Day 7: BAHARDAR – GONDAR:
drive to Gondar. Gondar is a town, which was the capital of Ethiopia in the 17th century. It is the site of ancient castle building palaces of different emperors constructed in the European middle age architectural style. After check into Goha Hotel you will visit Debre Berehan Silassie church-this finest Gondarine church was built during the reign of Emperor Iyasu (1682-1706), the church was never destroyed. It is said that when the dervishes tries to burn it in 1881 they were attacked and dispersed by bees. The church is rectangular, similar to those of ancient Axumite architecture. The inside walls of the front room are covered with paintings on cloth, glued to the surface. The ceiling is built with thick beams and it decorated with winged angel heads looking down. The wall paintings depict scenes from the life of Christ, Mary, and Saint, the Trinity, and others. After lunch, you will also visit the 18th C.Quskuam monastery with ancient treasure.
Day 8: GONDAR – LALIBELA: –
Transfer to Airport and fly to Lalibella, famous for its rock-hewn churches dating back 800 years, and transfer to the Roha Hotel. There are no less than 1000 churches in the Lasta Region of Lalibella, some hidden in enormous caves, but it’s exceptional to find 11 churches of such master craftsmanship in one locale. These brilliant feats of engineering and architecture are often referred to as the “Eighth wonder of the world”. This day among the 11-remarkable rock-hewn churches built by King Lalibella in the late 12th and early 13th century A.D. you will visit the 1st and 3rd groups of churches. Overnight Hotel.
Day 9: LALIBELLA:
After breakfast you will have a day excursion to the cave church of Neakuto Le’ab-lying 7 km from Lalibella, it was built by king Lalibela’s nephew and successor. It is a simple but attractive little church, built around a cave. It was almost certainly the site of a much older shrine. Drive back to the town of Lalibella for lunch and in the afternoon you will visit the remaining 2nd groups of Lalibella rock-hewn churches. Overnight Hotel.
Day 10: LALIBELLA-AXUM:-
Transfer to the airport for fly to Axum. Axum is the ancient capital of Ethiopia and the cradle of Ethiopian civilisation. Axum is famous for its more than 2000 year old Axumite steles measuring some of them up to 33m high. After check into Yeha Hotel you will visit the very noble church of St. Mary of Tsion, where the original Ark of covenant is housed in. Legend has it that the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon of Israel, King Menelik I brought the original Ark from Israel to Tana Cherkos then to Axum. The crowns of a succession of Ethiopian monarchs have been preserved in the church treasury which also housed many rich embroideries as well as important Ethiopian Orthodox church manuscripts. Together, the three churches of St.Mary constitute a remarkable testament to the continuity of faith in Ethiopia since the very beginning of the Christian era. Overnight Hotel.
Day 11: AXUM-DEBRE DAMO-ADIGRAT:
After breakfast drive 86 km nort-east of Axum to the 6th century old monastery of Debre Damo-the church id dedicated to its founder, Abune Aregawi ( Zemikael), one of the ‘nine saints’ who taught gospel in the country in the 6th century. It boasts the oldest standing church in the country. On top of the Amba (mountain) there are two churches. The wall of the church are made of stones and strengthened with longitudinal beams, which are themselves fixed to the walls with projecting woods otherwise known as “Monkey Heads”. The walls of the show resemblance to the decorative styles displayed on the obelisks of Alum. (The churches are only access able by a robe to climb and allowed only to men). According to local tradition, Abune Aregawi believed to have been taken to the top of the Amba with the help of a serpent that was commanded to do by God. Proceed to Adigrat for overnight in Hotel-
Day 12: ADIGRAT-MEKELE:
After breakfast drive to the beautiful rock-hewn churches of Tigri rigion. And you will visit the rock-hewn churches of Medhane Alem Adi Kesho- In the rock face; one can see potholes which the local people believe to be the foot prints of St. George and his horse. The church is unique in architecture as the exterior has four pillars apart which have been hewn from the cliff face. All the ceilings in the church are flat and worked in different geometrical designs, which show a high standard of workmanship. At the top of the white washed front of the exterior, there are three-square windows decorated with St. Andrew’s Crosses. Proceed to Petros & Paulos rock-hewn church to visit the church with two beautifully carved, wooden processional crosses.
Continue driving to the beautiful rock-hewn church of Abraha Atsbeha. Its interior is painstakingly decorated: the cross-imposed up on the basilica plan by giving prominence to a transept and the apparent presence of five aisles; the apse; 13 huge pillars supporting the ceiling and is rectangular in shape. The church is also decorated with splendid post-17th century murals and paintings depicting Biblical Scenes and Saints. It is also has several valuable treasures, the most important being the prayer cross which according to church officials, belonged to Frumentius- the first Bishop of Ethiopia whose ecclesiastical name was Abba Salama (Father of peace). Proceed to the other rock-hewn churches built in the 4th century A.D. and you will admire the beautiful ceiling and paintings. The interior of the church is handsomely decorated symmetrically patterned arches, columns, and carving in relief can also be inspected. Continue driving to Mekele for overnight at Hiltop Hotel.
Day 13: MEKELE-ADDIS:
Transfer to the airport for fly back to Addis. In addition, and in the evening transfer out to the airport for departure back to home.
Grand Christian Pilgrimage
Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa. O/N Hotel
Day 2: Drive Addis to Debre Markos. Visit Debre Libanos Monastery. O/N Hotel
Day 3: Drive Debre Markos to Bahar Dar. Visit Monasteries on Lake Tana. O/N Hotel.
Day 4: Bahar Dar. Visit Monasteries on Lake Tana. O/N Hotel.
Day 5: Drive Bahar Dar to Gondar. Visit Church and Monastery. O/N Hotel
Day 6: Drive Gondar to Axum. O/N Hotel
Day 7: Axum. Visit church of St. Mary Zion. O/N Hotel
Day 8: Drive Axum to Adigrat. Visit Monastery of Debre Damo. O/N Hotel
Day 9: Drive Adigrat to Mekele. Visit rock-hewn churches. O/N Hotel
Day 10: Drive Mekele to Lalibela. O/N Hotel.
Day 11: Lalibela. Visit rock-hewn churches. O/N Hotel.
Day 12: Excursion trip to Asheton Mariam and Neakuto Le’ab. Visit rock hewn and Cave churches/N Hotel.
Day 13: Excursion trip to Yemrehane Kirstos. Visit built-up cave church. O/N Hotel.
Day 14: Drive Lalibela to Dessie. Visit Hayk Istifanos Monastery. O/N Hotel
Day 15: Excursion to Gishen. Visit Gishen Debre Kerbe Monastery. O/N Hotel.
Day 16: Drive Dessie to Addis. O/N Hotel.
Day 17: Drive Addis to Ziqualla-Addis. Visit Abune Gebre Menfes Kidus Monastery. O/N Hotel.
Day 18: city tour of Addis and depart