Lalibela – The New Jerusalem
Lalibela, a medieval settlement in the Lasta area of Wello, lies at the centre of an extensive complex of rock churches. Lalibela has 11 remarkable rock-hewn monolithic, semi-monolithic and cave built churches, built by one of the Zagwe Dynasty rulers, King Lalibela in the late 12th and early 13th century.
These notable structures are carved, inside and out, out of one solid rock, and are the unofficial eighth wonders of the world. Each building is architecturally unique but each reflects beautifully executed craftsmanship, and several are decorated with fascinating paintings.
Gondar – The Castle
Gondar is 50 kilometers north of Lake Tana, 783 kilometers north of Addis Ababa and nestles in the foothills of the Semien mountains at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea level. Gondar, founded by King Fasiledes in 1636, was the capital of Ethiopia for nearly 200 years. This fact is reflected by the number of palace buildings in the castle compound.
Bahir Dar is a modern small town on the southeastern shore of Lake Tana in the north of Ethiopia. It hosts the fabled Blue Nile falls, the beautiful highland Lake Tana and 14th century island monastic churches.
It lays on altitude of 1850metres and has a very nice center with wide lanes, surrounded by palm trees, lots of gardens and tropical flowers and plant.
From Bahir Dar you have to explore some of the ancient monasteries that have been built around Lake Tana or on the many islands in the lake. There are 37 islands dotted all over the lake and 30 of them house churches and monasteries of great cultural and historical interest. They contain beautiful manuscripts, objects of worship and crosses dating back to the dawn of Christianity.
Axum – The Enormous Obelisk
Axum is an ancient town in northern Ethiopia. It lies at an elevation of about 2100 meters just west of Adwa in Tigray region. Once the seat of the kingdom of Axum, it is now a tourist town and religious center best known for its antiquities tall granite obelisks, 126 in all, stand (or lie broken) in the central square. Once measuring 33 meters, now fallen, is said to be the tallest obelisk ever erected.
The obelisks range from nearly plain slabs to intricately inscribed pillars. Door and window-like shapes are carved into some of the pillars, giving them the appearance of slender buildings. The most recent of the obelisks announces the adoption of Christianity in the 4th century by king Ezana. At least 27 carved stone thrones have been unearthed in the overgrown ruins of the ancient palace.
Debre Damo – The Monastery
Debre Damo is unique and unforgettable although, as with most Ethiopian monasteries, women are not allowed to enter it. Even so, there is a daunting obstacle to the monastery: the only means of access is a climb of twenty-five meters up a sheer cliff. Monks lower a safety rope which visitors tie around their waists. Then they use a second, thicker rope to climb with. Some may reflect, as they make their way to the top, that because of this arduous, dangerous ascent the art treasures of Debra Damo have remained intact through the monastery-s 1,400 tumultuous years of history.
Al-Najashi – The Mosque
Al-Najashi is a small village located 60kms East of Mekelle, the Capital of Tigray region. It is Anonymous with Islam as it is the place were the first mosque was constructed in Ethiopia.
It also serves as enduring reminder of the warm welcome extended by the Ethiopian king of the time when those Muslims including the family of the prophet Mohammed fled from persecution in their own land found refuge in Ethiopia during the early years of the Seventh century.
Yeha – The Temple
Ethiopia’s earliest known capital, Yeha, the oldest temple in Ethiopia founded in the 900BC and is less than two hours’ drive from Axum through some dramatic highland scenery. As the birthplace of the country’s earliest high civilization, it is well worth visiting. To get there, head east for twenty kilometers (Bahar Dar is a town 12 miles) to Adwa. Continue along the main road towards Adigrat for another twenty-four kilometers (15 miles) and then turn north on to a short dirt track, where you will see the imposing ruins of Yeha’s Temple of the moon about four kilometers (2.5 miles) to the right of the track.
Tiya – The Standing Stone
The Stele site of Tiya in Gurage Zone is registered in the UNESCO world heritage list as world heritage sites in 1980. Tiya is distinguished by 36 standing stones or stelae. They are marking a large, prehistoric burial complex of an ancient Ethiopian culture.
The site contains more than 40 ancient stelae. The largest of which stands up to 3.9m high. They form only one cluster and are intriguing and mysterious. Almost nothing is known about the monoliths carves or their purpose. Most of the stones are engraved with enigmatic symbols, notably swords. French excavations have revealed that the stelae mark mass graves of individuals aged between 18-30 years.
Harar & Dire Dawa
Harar is located in the eastern part of the country and part of the historic circuits. The walled city of Harar is an ancient city with rich and colorful history. Harar is 523 kilometers east of Addis Ababa, the capital. The most dominant feature of Harar is its strong encircling wall and at night you will get to see the Hyena man feeding show, if you are brave enough then you can feed them yourself, which is a spectacular experience. Which embraces the town, its exciting market places, and its 99 mosques. Harar is the fourth holiest city after Makka Madina and Jerusalem. Harar in the old days could be reached only by a long caravan or mule journey of many days, weeks, or months; today, however, the city is little more than an hour drive from Dire Dawa, a modern Ethiopian railway town, with an international airport and several first-class Government and private hotels.
Lucy – The Skeleton
Ethiopia is the earliest known home of humankind. A skeleton of an older human ancestor Australopithecus Afarensis was discovered in 1974 in the Afar region.
The Skeleton is popularly known as Lucy or Dinkinesh. The discovery has completed the missing link between apes and men – paving the way for the search to human origins.
In addition, the earliest known hominid, 4.4 million years old Ardipithecus Ramidus was discovered in the Middle Awash in 1992. The recent discoveries include Australopithecus Garhi, 2.5 million-years-old hominid.