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Ethiopia, along the historic route
points of interest:    info:   

Ethiopia is the only subsaharian country that can boast an ancient history and a succession of civilizations. Starting from the most remote prehistory to the present day everything is witnessed by all archaeological findings, monuments and written texts.

Today, along the historic route that spread north of Addis Ababa between the volcanic mountains 2-3 thousand meters high, and several peaks exceeding 4,000 meters, is hard to believe the beauty and mysticism of the churches and monasteries hidden in the middle of the vegetation on shores and islands of Lake Tana, to the elegance of seventeenth-century castles of Gondar, the first capital and home of the Renaissance of Ethiopia, to the actual tombs and steles of Axum, the thirteenth-century unusual monolithic churches carved entirely in just 23 years in Lalibela, the new Jerusalem and eighth wonder of the world, the rock churches of Tigray perched on monolithic stones. Of great interest is also the environment, with a series of pyramids and peaks of rock, a large number of endemic plants and animals, many birds, the great waterfalls of the Blue Nile and Lake Tana covered as in the ancient times by papyrus boats.

In the classic route, which is run in the north of Ethiopia, there are places of high concentration of historical elements, including those we have highlighted:
--- The center of Gondar with the path of the Timkat procession from the main square, with the well-preserved Italian 'Palazzo delle Poste', to the the bath of the Baptism;
--- The churches carved into the rock at Lalibela with the path of processions during the Timkat;
--- The center of Axum--- with the park of the stems and place where it is kept the Ark of the Covenant.

Terre Millenarie:
Immagini e impressioni Beirut, antichi splendori e recenti ferite Libano Siria e Giordania; da Aleppo ad Aqaba Aleppo L'antica città armena di Ani San Simeone Città Morte della Siria Serjilla Palmyra (Tadmur), la città delle mille colonne Damasco Bosra Jerash, l'antica Gerasa Gerusalemme dentro e fuori le mura Marrakesh, da Churchill a Yves Saint Laurent Petra Wadi Rum Il fascino discreto del Cairo Cina Cina-Pakistan: la via della seta The Ancient Silk Route Iran Etiopia Ethiopia, along the historic route Dancalia e Tigrai Egitto, deserto occidentale Egypt, the western desert Sudan Cina del Nord
Tutte le nostre mappe:
InOgniDove, viaggi in città e luoghi del mondo
SempreInMoto, tour e imprese in motocicletta
SempreInBici, in bicicletta fuori porta (Lombardia)

Lake Tana is the largest of Ethiopia and is a 1778 m. in height. It contains 37 islands and is home to many very important monasteries and churches, a great point of reference for the Christian Ethiopians. Lake Tana is still crossed by papyrus boats that despite the apparent weakness, are pretty solid. In ancient times, Eratosthenes of Cyrene and Pliny have told about commercial papyrus vessels sailing in the Indian Ocean up to Sri Lanka and India.

Papyrus boats on Lake Tana
For the boats they use the Cyperus papyrus: triangular section and hollow internal structure that makes it very buoyant. [...]

Uhra Kidane Mehret
The peninsula is home to the monasteries of Ura Kidane Mihret and Bet Maryam; the first one, the most visited, is composed of three concentric circles, the innermost of which is the sancta sanctorum containing a copy of the Ark of Covenant.

Saint George
Saint George was much revered in Ethiopia since ancient times where the knowledge of his exploits came through Egypt. He is the legendary founder of the Angabe empire, father of Queen of Sheba and slayer of dragons.

Kebran Gabriel
Kebran Gabriel is one of the most beautiful and best preserved monasteries of the area. The porch outside is supported by 12 columns symbolizing the 12 apostles and inside you can admire splendid frescoes. In the museum are kept 175 antique Bibles dating back to the seventeenth century.

Kebran Gabriel - pier
In the pier of Gabriel Kebran you are welcomed by children who politely try to sell you their souvenirs.

Journey to the Waterfalls
Along the road to the waterfalls there are several small Ethiopian villages.

Journey to the Waterfalls
To join the waterfalls of the Nile you cover an interesting route through Ethiopian villages.

Blue Nile Falls
The waterfalls of the Nile can be reached in about an hour's drive from Bahir Dar.  [photo: Chema Franco]

Gondar was the old imperial capital of Ethiopia, an agricultural center and commercial emporium founded in 1635 by the Fasilide imperor. Today it's more than 110 thousand inhabitants.

Gondar - Fasilide Castle
Fasilide is the emperor who in 1635 founded Gondar.

Library of Johannes
Castle of King Johannes, son of Fasilide, pious and devout and with a great interest in education and for books in general, enriched the extension of the imperial area building a library and a Registry.

Gondar - Fasilides' Bath
The bath surrounded by walls where each year, at Timkat (Epiphany), the Ethiopian Orthodox Church remembers the baptism of Christ. [...]

Gondar - Fasilides' Bath
The small and charming two-storey tower that stands at the center of a large rectangular bath where the water will be blessed during the Timkat. The water will become like water of the Jordan where Jesus was baptized.

Gondar - enclosure of the Fasilides' Bath
The tent where the priests will spend the night in prayer.

Gondar - enclosure of the Fasilides' Bath
Near the tent where the priests will spend the night in prayer.

Gondar - enclosure of the Fasilides' Bath
Near the tent where the priests will spend the night in prayer.

Debre Birhan Selassie
Church of Debre Birhan Selassie (Mountain of Light of the Trinity) keeps beautiful murals art with the Ethiopian Orthodox representation of biblical events and stories of the Middle Ages. Remarkable ceilings decorated with beautiful angels.

Debre Birhan Selassie
The last church built by Eyasu II (17th Century) before his retirement in Lake Tana. [...]

Debre Birhan Selassie
In the ceiling of Debre Birhan Selassie are painted the faces of 80 cherubim we look surprised. The high walls are a triumph of frescoes.

Gondar - Italian Postal Palace
On the main square of Gondar, the well-preserved building of the Italian Postal Service is a clear sign of the past Italian colonial architecture.

Main Square
View from the Postal Palace. The center of Gondar shows the influence of Italian architecture in the late thirties. The main square has typical shops in arcades, a cinema, and other public buildings built according to the dictates of the Italian Rationalism.

Gondar - Timkat procession
On the main street. The Timkat, the Coptic Epiphany, is the most important festival of the year, falls on January 20 or 19, 15 days after the Ethiopian Christmas. Three days of great faith with evocative and colorful processions.

Gondar - Timkat procession
The day after Timkat is the most significant, the anniversary of the baptism of Christ in the waters of the Jordan River. The third day is dedicated to Archangel Michael, one of the most venerated saints of Ethiopia.

Gondar - Timkat procession
During Timkat all people dress with the best clothes, white is the preferred color, and children receive gifts of good wishes.

Lalibela is now a small and hospitable city situated in the heart of Ethiopia at an altitude of 2700. In ancient times was called Roha, and was one of the capital of the dynasty that had inherited the empire of Axum (on which once reigned the legendary Queen of Sheba).

The sacred city for the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, and is also recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its churches carved into the rock dating from the twelfth century. Legend says that it was built by angels in one night.


Near the Cathedral of St. George

Near the Cathedral of St. George

Beta Emanuel
Colossal monolithic bloc. Maybe it was the church attached to the royal palaces. It reflects axumiti models with horizontal and vertical bands of stone along the magnificent walls 11 meters high. [...]

Beta Giorgis
Built after a complaint of the enraged Saint George, the most important of the Ethiopian religion, to King Lalibela, that during the construction of the Jerusalem stone, didn't dedicate him any church.

Beta Giorgis
Lalibela [...]

Lalibela - baptismal bath
At the dawn of Timkat (January 19), a Coptic Abuna plunges the cross into this pool, and then spray blessed water on the faithful. Moment of great chaos because everyone wants to throw himself into the blessed water.


Axum, a city of the Tigray, was the center of the Kingdom of Axum, which was built in the period around the birth of Christ and declined towards the twelfth century because of the emerging empire of Ethiopia to the south. 75% of the population is made up of Ethiopian Orthodox Christian religion.

Axum - field of the steles
Field of the steles, dating from 300-500 AD and high up to 33 meters of the Great Stele, which we think fall during construction. It is of 24 meters the largest yet erected, the Stele of King Ezana.

Stele of King Ezana
This stele is 24 meters high. Finely etched as a house-to nine-story tower. A door is symbolic carved at the base. The summit has the characteristic shape of monkey heads. [...]  [photo: Marisa Andreetto]

Axum - St. Mary of Zion (modern)
Poor modern building built by Haile Selassie and inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth of England. (in the picture an old manuscript of the church).

False palace of Queen of Sheba
On the road that goes from Axum to Gondar are the remains of a palace that some furbe local guides us to sell as the palace of the legendary queen. It really is the imposing Palace of the Dongour VI-VII century composed of 54 rooms over 3000 square meters

Goudit Cemetery
Vast necropolis covered with rough stele in front of the Dongour palace. The largest Menir is 17 meters high, collapsed and rott, some guides furbe sell him as the tomb of Queen of Sheba.

Simien Mountains - Imet Gogo
Imet Gogo 3926 m. in the Simien Moutains and some giant lobelias.  [photo: Chema Franco]

Mount Entoto
View of Addis Ababa from Mount Entoto.

Addis Ababa - Trinity Cathedral  [photo: Kevin Mc Bride]
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