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Ethiopia has a diverse mix of ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, and cultural uniqueness. Its mosaic culture offers wonderful discovery for visitors. Cultural traditions are found from over 3000 years of history. Touring through Ethiopian culture brings beautiful pictures of monuments, as well as edifices, built in centuries past. The area is breathtaking and full of life along with discovery. Over 80 spoken languages have been used in Ethiopia. Several of the main language groups include Omotic, Semitic, Nilo-Saharan, as well as Cushitic. The main Semitic language within Ethiopia – Amharic- has Hebrew and Arabic roots.


Ethiopia is well-known as the land of discovery, and is a popular tourist destination. It is a very beautiful region that is full of rich culture and traditions that date back to over 3,000 years. Many people desire to visit the area based on how remarkable the preservation is. Various ceremonies and rituals take place which bring the individual back into ancient times. There is no other place in the world to be a part of the sacred traditions first hand. Photographically Exploring Ethiopia. Tourists have the ability to take photographs during their visit to Ethiopia. There are a variety of internet cafes which allow travelers to burn digital photographs to CDs through USB ports. There is a small cost depending on the needs of the tourist. Various cities within Ethiopia also have provision of decent print film.

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Ethiopia is a place full of historical attractions. Beautiful countryside can be seen as well as many ruins. Several attractions exist including Axsum, Harar, Lalibela, DebreDamo, Mekele, and Gonder. Each area provides a new and unique experience to the visitor. Aksum offers historical journeys with many ruins, dating back to 800 BC. One example includes the previous settlement of Yeha. Yehais the country’s pre-Axsumite foundation in the civilization of Ethiopia. In Gondar, there are fairytale castles dating back to the 17th century. In Harar, the visitor can enjoy the incense-flavored mysteries of narrow alleyways and towering minarets.


Ethiopia is home to some of the wildest and most interesting habitats on the earth. Travelers to the country will enjoy a large variety of indigenous plant and animal species. The country isone of the favorite tourist destinations in the world for watching an astonishing range of wildlife.With 14 major wildlife reserves, Ethiopia provides a unique microcosm of tropical ecosystem. It offers an abundant bird life, indigenous animals, a land covered with flowers and native plants. Ethiopia offers a number of peculiar mammals, and dramatic scenery, and amazing diversity of habitats that are hard to equal. While you can certainly see some of the larger and more obvious game animals such as lions and elephants in various regions of the country.


Ethiopia offer opportunities for travel adventure unparalleled in Africa. Ethiopia's has many national parks enabling visitors to enjoy the country's unique wildlife and dramatic scenery, conserved in beautiful natural habitats. Ethiopia is also a land of natural contrasts, from the depths of the Danakil Depression, at 120 meters below sea level one of the lowest dry land points on earth, to the tops of the rugged Simien mountains. Ethiopia offers an astonishing variety of landscapes.


The Capital of Ethiopia - Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia, and is a great place to tour and learn the ancient history of Ethiopia. The name Addis Ababa means “a new flower.” Prior to Addis Ababa, Gondar was the capital of Ethiopia. People from a variety of ethnic backgrounds live in the city, and the capital is a city of tourist attractions. 

Addis Ababa was founded in 1886 by Emporer Menelik II. The area was chosen by his wife who began work in the churches. A nearby town was considered, but did not provide as a source of food and water. Other noble men also settled in the near vicinity. Menelik’s house was expanded and became the Imperial Palace. The palace remains as the seat of government today. 

Visitors of the city can see the continued planting of Eucalyptus trees. In the surrounding areas various fossil discoveries have been made of human remains. For example, the discovery of Australopithecine Lucy has been made and can be seen in a museum.

Temperatures in the area remain constant throughout the year. Recently, the population of Addis Ababa was nearing 3 million people. Nearly all residents have access to clean drinking water. The city also holds several trades which strengthen the economy. This includes manufacturing, industries, various homemaking, transportation, social services, health and education. The residents also provide diverse options in hotels, catering, gardening, as well as other trades. The city is also the home of a popular Addis Ababa University.

There are a variety of landmarks in Addis Ababa which attract tourists. The Ethiopian National Museum, Meskel Square (city of squares), Ethiopian Railway Museum, Addis Abba Museum, and the National Postal Museum are just a few. St. George's Cathedral and the Holy Trinity Cathedral are some of the popular builds.

One of the oldest theaters in Ethiopia is located in the district of Piazza. The parliament building also attracts visitors to see its clock tower. The nearby Entoto Mountain brings naturalistic beauty to the city. 

Addis Ababa brings so many things to the community, as well as to those who chose to visit. The area is definitely a must see for those who are interested in learning more about Ethiopian culture and history. 


The Forty Springs of Ethiopia

The city of Arba Minch, nick-named as “forty springs” of Ethiopia, is a wonderful place to visit. It is located in southern Ethiopia, in the zone of Gamo Gofa Oma. The city received its name due to the numerous local springs which produce groundwater forests. The city is nearby the stunning Nechisar National Park, which is easily accessible. Unique animals and birds are housed in an area over 500 square kilometers.

Arba Minch has several attractions that welcome visitors. Crocodile Ranch is located on Lake Chamo. A lakeside walkway is available to view hippos. Tourists can also visit the famous Dorze Village. The inhabited village allows visitors to experience local life style. The people make use of everything natural, and do not waste. 

Just north of Arba Minch, a nice location to visit is the Guge Mountains. A portion of the Dorze people lives within these mountains, in their beehive huts. Visitors are able to view the huts from the inside, as well as the outside. They are about 12 meters high and are constructed of hardwood poles and bamboo. The Dorze people are also famous for their finely woven cotton. Traditionally, the local men weave the cotton, while the women spin it. 

Arba Minch brings much benefit to the communities, as it has rich resources of tropical fruits such as pineapple, mango, apples, guava and bananas. The area is also known for a variety of fish farms. 

Currently, the population nears 73,000 people. The city, founded in the 1960s, holds history for the Norwegian Lutheran Mission, as well as the Ethiopian Revolution.

Every year, Arba Minch holds a celebration known as the Thousands of Stars Music and Dance Festival. The purpose of the celebration is to encourage the people to hold cultural dancing, singing, along with artistic expressions.

Wonderful shopping experiences are available to visitors. Shoppers can take home colorful shammas and gabis to remember their experience. In the villages of the Guge Mountains, markets are available for visitors to buy pottery and calabashes. Some come with decorations; many are used in the daily lives of the citizens.

Visiting Arba Minch is well worth the trip to see native life first-hand. The exquisiteness of the area is breath taking, and the culture is unique.


The Distinctive Architecture of Axum

Axum, also acknowledged as the Aksumite Kingdom, is known for its distinctive architecture in Ethiopia. It is a beautiful site to see as it contains much history for the region. The area has an estimated population of 48,000 people. The main ethnic group of the area is Tigire. Most of them are Orthodox Christians, while a small part of the population is Muslim.

The kingdom of Aksum was known for its marine trading power. Due to Islamic groups protesting trade routing, this power has slowly declined. Gradually the Kingdom was shifted to the Ethiopian Empire. When the population was forced south, the kingdom of Aksum was destroyed by Gudit.

Several distinctive architectural buildings remain in the area, and bring many tourists. The Dome and Belltower of the Church of Our Lady-Mary of Zion is one such building which was built in 1665. It is widely believed that Our Lady-Mary of Zion holds the “Ark of the Covenant.” Within this Covenant lie the “Ten Commandments,” as well as the “Tablets of Law.” 

There are other monuments in the town of Axum. Many of them lie in Northern-Stelae Park. The Great  Stelae is believed to have dropped during construction. One of the highest standing is King Ezana’s Stelae. The Stelae are known in history for marking graves, and also have distinctive architectural designs. Some weigh over 170 tons and are over 24 meters high. 

Other attractions include ethnographic museums, King Bazen’s tomb and the Bath of Queen Sheba. Abba Pentalewon and Abba Liquanos monasteries are also relevant during the period and still stand today. Rock art can also be viewed of the Lioness of Gobedra.

Axum is full of history and beautiful architecture. It is a wonderful tourist attraction for many to see. Visitors have the opportunity to see the Axum University, which was established in May 2006, and serves as center of development in the region.

The distinctive architecture of Axum should be placed as a significant touring adventure. The culture and traditions of the people are like no other, and you would gain a wonderful Ethiopian experience.


Bahir Dar is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ethiopia. It is considered the capital of the Amhara Region. Lake Tana and the Blue Nile River are among the variety of attractions. The city is full of vibrant, colorful flowers and the streets are lined with palm trees. Bahir Dar is considered one of the safest cities.

Bahir Dar dates back in origin, to the 16th century. Several buildings were created by Pedro Paez, which can be seen today, nearby Giyorgis Church. In the 19th century, the area was used for camping by the Emperor Tweodros II. Arthur Hayes also spent time in the area. It was filled with a large amount of papyrus plants. 

In the year of 1963, Polytechnic Institute was built, bringing new means of agriculture, industry, and technology, accommodating many people. Later the Third Revolutionary Army of the Communist government held their headquarters in Bahir Dar. 

During the recent Census, the population of the city neared 230,000 people. The city is one of the most growing, as well as one of the largest in Ethiopia. Bahir Dar University enrolls nearly 5000 students. Bicycles are an extended means of transportation in the city.

There are extensive business opportunities in Bahir Dar. A variety of local restaurants and cafés are available. The Tis Isat Falls, means “smoke of water”, adds beauty to the city. It is also known for its potpourri of mists and wonderful rainbows. The best time to view the falls is during the rainy season which generally occurs between June and September. Several paths are available for visitors, to allow for different views of the area. 

Another attraction is the Blue Nile outlets on the skirts of Mount Gishe. The nice view includes papyrus canoes, known as Tankwas. Wildlife, such as hippopotamuses, can also be seen in the area. The expanse has a breathtaking view and it is most amazing.

Ura Kidane Mehrat is the most famous and visited church in the Zegue Peninsula. There are round-shaped huts built from stone. They are decorated beautifully, and serve as a display wall for pictures of the equestrian saints as well as other popular figures.

Lake Tana churches also hold beautiful paintings. Travelers spend admiring the portraits that catch the viewer’s mind. Mango Park as well as other Ethiopian churches in the area can be toured. Each area of Bahir Dar is amazing in culture and tradition.


Discovering Ethiopian Culture

Ethiopia has a diverse mix of ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, and cultural uniqueness. Its mosaic culture offers wonderful discovery for visitors. Cultural traditions are found from over 3000 years of history. Touring through Ethiopian culture brings beautiful pictures of monuments, as well as edifices, built in centuries past. The area is breathtaking and full of life along with discovery.

Over 80 spoken languages have been used in Ethiopia. Several of the main language groups include Omotic, Semitic, Nilo-Saharan, as well as Cushitic. The main Semitic language within Ethiopia – Amharic -  has Hebrew and Arabic roots.

Agricultural practice is strongly seen within the history of Ethiopian culture. Sorghum, wheat, maize and barley are produced. People in the South such as the Gurage farmers routinely grow enset plant, also known as “false banana.” Carbohydrate-rich food is used from the plant to make unleavened bread or porridge. Herdsmen and craftsmen are also a part of the Ethiopian culture.

Wonderful culture is also seen in the many types of clothing worn by the various ethnic groups of Ethiopia. Traditional dress made from white cotton is commonly seen among rural women. Men wear long trousers, snug fitting shirts, along with shamma (loose wrap).

Many Harar Muslims wear colorful attire within the region. Men generally wear short trousers, along with a colored wrap. Fine dresses in red, black, and purple are worn by the women. Oroma people wear leather, beaded dress representing their culture in working with livestock.

Festivals and ceremonies surround Ethiopian lifestyles, and showcase national dress styles. It is a beautiful sight to see when people wear finely woven dresses made of cotton, along with decorated wraps. Rural people within different Ethiopian groups wear distinctive jewelry, various hairstyles, and carry unique embroidery styles of dress.

Ethiopian culture is also rich in singing and dancing. Secular music can be heard, along with spiritual music. 

In discovering delightful Ethiopian culture, traditional instruments are used to make music. They include the massinko (violin of one string), the krar (lyre, six strings), washint (flute), as well as Ethiopian drums. Generally, three types of drums are seen: the negarit, the kebero, and the begena. 

Not only can you explore the wonderful colors in dress and attire, surrounded by traditional Ethiopian music, but you have the opportunity to discover the delightful scenery of animals and landscaping. The area is full of ancient history and archaeological sites.


Visiting Dire Dewa

Dire Dewa, founded in 1902, is a historical city of Ethiopia, located in the region of Harar.  It is near the Dechatu River, known for area cliffs that appear as clusters of tea leaves. Dire Dewa was built from the need to supply goods to Harar which could not be reached by railway at its highest point of elevation.

Dire Dewa is a delightful tourist attraction for those interested in learning more about the history and development of Ethiopia. Tourists have the opportunity to experience its personal culture and view its magnificence. Currently, it is the commercial center near the Addis Abada-Djibouti railroad. Workshops about the railroad are also available in the city. Market products such as vegetable oils, processed meat, textiles as well as cement come from the city. Growth in the region has largely been a result of the railroad reaching the area.

The climate of Dire Dewa ranges from temperatures 18 - 26 degrees Celsius. Rain showers come in two seasons during the year. The region is also known to have an abundant water source from underground. The current population is approximately 160,000, housing a variety of cultural nationalities.

The city of Dire Dewa holds many historical attractions for families to visit. Pre-historical caves contain paintings which are recognized internationally. Caves are being studied by American and French geologists for over 75 years. Some caves have yet to be explored. 

The Dire Dewa Railway Station is highly visited due to significance of the railroad, in the development and growth of the city. British and African cemeteries were created during and after the Second World War, of soldiers who fought alongside Ethiopian armed forces. 

A traditional marketplace, Kefira, can be seen in colorful representation of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Locals are seen in their cultural dress style nearby, along with town animals.  Gharris’ are used within the city, which are wheeled carts pulled by horses or mules. It is definitely an awesome sight to see.

Dire Dewa holds nearly the largest mosque within the city. It is known as the Italian Mosque, built by the Italians in their short stay in Ethiopia. Another attraction of interest is Saint Michel’s Catholic Church which was built over 100 years ago. It is located nearby in Beyo Awale, and thousands of nearby Catholics visit on a regular basis. 


 A Brief History of Ethiopia

Ethiopia is a land of ancient history, and source of human civilization as described by many historians. It is the only un colonized country in African continent, and one of the oldest in the world. Ethiopia, a country beyond all imaginations, has culture and traditions dating back over 3 million years. It is home of not only to nearly a hundred different indigenous tribes, each with its own language, but also to an astonishing array of historical and world-heritage sites, much of it unique to this wonderful country. 

Ethiopia has yielded some of humanity's oldest traces. Anthropologists believe that East Africa's Great Rift Valley is the site of mankind's origins. The oldest remains of a human ancestor, dated back some 5 million years, were discovered in the Awash Rift Valley region of Ethiopia. This new discovery overshadows the discovery of a 3.2 million year old skeleton known as “Lucy” unearthed in the Afar region of Ethiopia in 1974.  “Lucy” is considered the world's most complete and best preserved adult fossil known as Australopithecus afarensis, named after the Afar region where it was found.

Historians describe Ethiopia, as ancient as the stories mentioned in the Old Testament. You can find Biblical passages which record Ethiopian episodes around 1000 BC. The Old Testament describes the Queen of Sheba's visit to Jerusalem where she met King Solomon of Israel after having heard of his great wisdom. Legends assert that King Menelik of Ethiopia - regarded as the first emperor of Ethiopia - was born from their union during the visit. Today, some remains of the Queen of Sheba’s palace can still be seen in Axum, one of the famous tourist sites in the country. Axum is home to many other historical sites, including the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant is believed to have been brought to Ethiopia by Menelik from King Salmon during his visit to Jerusalem. This story is written in one of the famous and sacred ancient books of Ethiopia known as “The Kebre Negest”.

Ethiopia has long been an intersection between the civilizations of North Africa, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. Historians claim that Ethiopia’s history goes further back to ancient Egypt and the Pharaohs and the Assyrians. There is evidence of ancient places of sacrifice with slabs of carved stone, ancient burial places for ancient Kings with mummies and fine treasures in the style of the Pharaohs of Egypt. 

Ethiopia is traditionally a christen country. According to historians, missionaries from Egypt and Syria reached Ethiopia in the 4th century and introduced Christianity. In the 7th century, due to the rise of Islam, Ethiopia was then isolated from European Christianity. In 1500s, the Portuguese re-established contact with Ethiopia, and strengthened their influence to convert Ethiopia to Roman Catholicism. 

From 1700, as a result of conflicts among local feudal lords over power, on one hand, a religious conflict between settling Muslims and traditional Christians, there was no central power in Ethiopia. It is only in 1869, that Emperor Tewodros made significant efforts to unify the divided forces.  His successor Emperor Yohannes made further attempts to maintain the unified regions, and the empire began to emerge from its isolation.  

Emperor Menelik II who reigned from 1889 to 1913 Menelik II had moved his capital to what was to become Addis Ababa. He united his people to confront the European threats. He defended the Italian threat, which begun to colonize part of Eritrea in the mid-1880s. However, on 2 March 1896, Menelik II personally led his army to defeat the colonial power of Italy at the Battle of Adwa. Until now this victory is recognized as the first victory of an African nation. Menelik II continued the modernization of his country.

In 1913, Menelik’s II grandson, Lij Iyasu, reigned briefly until 1916. Iyasu was overthrown primarily for embracing Islam in violation of dynastic law. In 1917, Menelik's daughter, Zawditu, become crowned Empress. When she died in 1930, Ras Tafari Mekonnen (1892-1975) become Emperor, and adopted the name Haileselassie. He reigned until 1974 when he was deposed by a Military Provisional Council, famously known as the Derg. 

The Marxist council Derg established a socialist military government. Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam became head of state and chairman of the Derg. His brutal regime lasted for 17 years, and was marked by a totalitarian style government assisted by the former Soviet Union, Cuba, China and other communist states. Finally, the Mengistu’s regime which ruled Ethiopia with an iron hand collapsed in May 1991.

The Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) installed power in the rest of Ethiopia under difficult circumstances. At the same time, the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) controlled Eritrea, and later declared independence. A transitional government was established, and formed the Ethiopian Peoples Republic Democratic Front (EPRDF) with a Council of Representatives.  In December 1994, a new constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was adopted. In 1995, the first parliament was elected. As to date, Meles Zenawi serves as an elected Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

Now days, with the rise of radical Islamism, Ethiopia again turned to the Western powers, in particular the European Union and the United States, for alliance and assistance. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Ethiopian army began to train with US forces with a joint aim of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency. Ethiopia permitted the US to station its military forces at one of its military bases.

Today, despite a more tolerant government, and its attempt to foster an economic and political strength, Ethiopia is still far from economic or political stability. It remains as one of the least developed countries in the world.


 Touring Ethiopia during National Events

Celebration is a part of the Ethiopian life. Touring Ethiopia during these events provides a special experience to the traveler. You will be able to see, feel, and taste the culture and traditions of the people. Below you will find a list of events that take place in Ethiopia, based on the Julian calendar.



September 11

Ethiopian New Year

September 26

The finding of the True Cross (Meskal)

October 2

Id ul Fitr (Ramadhan)

December 9

Id ul Ahda (Sacrifice)

January 8

Ethiopian Christmas

January 20

Ethiopian Epiphany

March 2

Victory of Adwa

March 20

Birth of Prophet Mohammed (Mauwlid)

April 25

Ethiopian Good Friday

April 27

Ethiopian Easter

May 1

International Labour Day

May 5

Ethiopian Patriots’ Victory Day

May 28

Downfall of the Dergue Regime

If you desire to experience Ethiopian culture during its most joyous time, Go Visit Ethiopia can assist you in booking flight and hotel arrangements during these times as well as year round. Additional information is found on site to assist you in choosing which events you would like to attend, as well as which areas you would like to visit. Please make note that Sundays are a time of rest among the people of Ethiopia. It is a tradition that is observed within this country, as well as in places around the world. 

Ethiopian Public Holidays

Ethiopian public holidays are based within three categories. There are national secular holidays, Islamic holidays, and Christian Orthodox festivals. It is highly recommended to make travel arrangement in advance if you are interested in traveling to Ethiopia during festivities. This is especially true if you are interested in traveling to Gonder, Aksum, and Lalibela. 


Ethiopia is well-known as the land of discovery, and is a popular tourist destination. It is a very beautiful region that is full of rich culture and traditions that date back to over 3,000 years. Many people desire to visit the area based on how remarkable the preservation is. 

Various ceremonies and rituals take place which bring the individual back into ancient times. There is no other place in the world to be a part of the sacred traditions first hand.

Photographically Exploring Ethiopia

Tourists have the ability to take photographs during their visit to Ethiopia. There are a variety of internet cafes which allow travelers to burn digital photographs to CDs through USB ports. There is a small cost depending on the needs of the tourist. Various cities within Ethiopia also have provision of decent print film.

Popular Ethiopia Destinations

There are a variety of destinations to see in Ethiopia. See the charts below to learn some of the destinations in each area.


Lake Tana Churches

Tis Isat Falls

Local Restaurants

Blue Nile River

Mount Gishe

Beautiful Scenery

Polytechnic Institute

Ura Kidane Mehrat

Palm Trees

Historical Areas

Mango Park


Bahir Dar University

Local Restaurants






Dire Dewa - Sites to See


Dechatu River

Pre-historical Caves

Italian Mosque

Tea Leaf Cliffs

British & African Cemeteries

St. Michel’s Catholic Church

Railway Station


Historical Landmarks

City Workshops

Magnificent Culture





Addis Ababa - Sites to See


Capital of Ethiopia

Ethiopian National Museum

National Postal Museum

Imperial Palace

Ethiopian Railway Museum

District of Piazza

Fossil Discoveries

Addis Abba Museum

Clock Tower

Australopithecine Lucy

St. George’s Cathedral

Entoto Mountains

Eucalyptus Trees

Addis Ababa University

Holy Trinity Cathedral





Axum - Sites to See


The Dome

Ethnographic Museums

Bath of Queen Sheba

The Belltower

Rock Art

Abba Pentalewon Monastery

Ethiopian-Orthodox Church

King Bazen’s Tomb

Abba Liquanos Monastery

Northern-Stelae Park

Beautiful Architecture

Other Historical Landmarks

Great Stelae

Axum University


Ethiopia is strategically located in the Horn of East Africa, on 3' and 14.8’ latitude 33' and 48' longitude. It  is bordered on the north and northeast by Eritrea, on the east by Djibouti,  and on the southeast by Somalia, on the south by Kenya, on the northwest by Sudan and on the southwest by South Sudan; with a total border length of 5,311 km.  It is the 10th largest, the 3rd populous country in Africa. Its proximity to the Middle East and Europe, together with its easy access to the major ports of the region, enhances its international trade.


Ethiopia is truly the land of contrast and extremes, and has a variety of distinct geographical zones. It is a land of remote and wild places. The natural beauty of the countryside amazes first- time visitors. The physical aspect of the highlands is impressive. It is a land of rugged ill-defined mountains, broad savannah, lakes and rivers. 


The country has a high central plateau that rises to 3,000 m above sea level. Above the plateau rise several irregular and unusual-shaped mountains. The highest mountain, Ras Dashen, reaches an altitude of 4,600 m (15,092 ft.) above sea level.  The northern plateau gradually slopes to the lowlands of the west and the plains to the southeast. 


Hikers love to explore this beautiful country which is marked by rugged mountains, wide spread Savannah grasslands and endlessly flowing lakes and rivers. Tissisat, the Blue Nile Falls, ranks as one of the greatest natural spectacles in Africa. Ethiopia’s great lakes and rivers allow any tourist to enjoy hiking, water sports and recreation. Unique mountain regions such as the Bale Mountains separated from the larger part of the Ethiopian highlands by the Great Rift Valley, offer an excellent opportunity for outdoor activities, camping and hiking.


The Rift Valley is one of the longest and most profound chasms in East Africa, and splits the plateau diagonally. It is a remarkable region of volcanic lakes, with their famous collections of bird life, great escarpments and stunning vistas. You will see areas of historically active volcanoes and the Afar Triangle - a triple junction where three earth plates are pulling away from one another.


The Splendor of Gondar in Ethiopia

Gondar is located in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia, within the Semien Gondar Zone. The population of the area is approximately 230,000. The splendor of Gondar is a wonderful place to see, as it was once the imperial capital of the Begemder Province.  Due to the presence of royal castles, it has been nicknamed “The Camelot of Africa.”

Prior to the 16th century, there was no fixed capital for the Solomonic Emperors of Ethiopia. They were housed in temporary tents and moved around the region. Gondar was founded approximately in 1635 by Emperor Fasilides who known to have visited a hermit which allowed the capital to be established. Fasilides built his castle on site and filled the pool near Angereb. He also built seven churches in the area, including Fit Mikael and Fit Abbo. These were put in place to stop ongoing epidemics. Five other emperors worked with Fasilides, and built their personal palaces nearby.

In 1668, the population of Gondar was ordered to be separated by religion from the church council. Muslims then moved into their own quarters, known as the “House of Islam,” which is known today as Addis Alem. The population of the area exceeded 60,000 during the 17th century, but much of the buildings have survived many of the changes that have occurred. Once the capital moved, the city was plundered, burnt, and invaded. 

There are several points of interest available to tour in the city of Gondar which is known for its ecclesiastical learning. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church inhabited over 40 churches in the area. The Gondar area was the home land of the most Ethiopian Jews.

When touring the splendor of Gondar, visitors can view the ruins of the Royal Enclosure where the emperors once reigned from this enclosure. The Royal Enclosure includes Fasilides castle, Iyasu Palace, Mentewab’s Castle, as well as Fasilides Bath. Dewit’s Hall, which is a banqueting hall, can also be seen. Stables, chancelleries, churches and a library are nearby as well. 

In downtown Gondar some Italian influence can be seen. Italian occupation took place in the late 1930s. Shops and public buildings are present. Currently, the town also holds Gondar Medical University.  The city also has an airport and intercity bussing system. 


Ethiopia is a place full of historical attractions with beautiful countryside and many ruins. Attractions include Aksum, Harar, Lalibela, Debre Damo, Mekele and Gonder. Each area provides a new and unique experience to visitors.

Aksum offers historical journeys with many ruins, dating back to 800 BC. One example includes the previous settlement of Yeha. Yeha is the country’s pre-Aksumite foundation during civilization of Ethiopia. The Ark of the Covenant has become a very important part of the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition. This covenant is highly treasured, and has a profound effect upon the spiritual beliefs of the Ethiopians.

Another historical attraction is the city of Harar. The main attraction of the area is the Wall of Harar which holds symbolism in Islamic architecture. Harar serves as the holy city of the Muslim community with the greatest concentration of mosques.

Lalibela is an area in northern Ethiopia, which stands for soft, red volcano rock. The area was originally known by the name of Roha. Lalibela is one of the greatest wonders of the world architecture. Ethiopian civilization is illustrated at great depths. Churches are constructed out of the volcanic rock, which represent Jerusalem. To this day, each church is used as a place of worship.

Debre Damo is located in a remote mountain of Tigray region. It is unique from most monasteries of Ethiopia, and was built in 6th century A.D. It is made of curved wood ceilings that are painted, and walls that are dedicated to St. Aregawi. Historically, the “Nine Saints” came spreading the word of Christianity to Ethiopia. Priceless manuscripts within extensive collections remain today.

Mekele is another site deemed a historical attraction. Salt slabs are brought in using camel caravans. Merchants visit the market of Mekele from all over. Rock hewn churches, as well as a museum, are also important attractions within the area. 

Gonder has history of war against Ahmed Gragn, a militant Muslim leader. Gonder as the capital of Ethiopia remained for two centuries as the political center full of culture. Through history, Prince Fasiladas built a castle during the time of restoration of peace to the area. The church was also reunited with the state during this time in history.

Each of the cities discussed provides opportunities to learn about Ethiopian history and development, and the wonders of the world. The view is breathtaking and full of richness. 


Touring the Northern Countryside of Lalibela

Lalibela is a beautiful part of the northern Ethiopia, and is a very popular tourist destination. It is rich in history, and is a wonderful place to tour. The city is considered to be one of the holiest cities in Ethiopia. For much of the country, it is the center of pilgrimage. Most of the population in the region is of Ethiopian Orthodox Christian belief.

Lalibela was once known as Roha. During the birth of the saintly king, a host of bees surrounded him. His mother saw it as a sign of his future reign as an emperor.  Within the modern town, several places are named mimicking patterns observed at that time.

The community of Lalibela had seen Jerusalem, and desired to create and build a New Jerusalem around 1187. Many features within the area have biblical names. For example, the town’s river is Jordan River. Lalibela remained the capital of Ethiopia for some time.

Beautiful sites of rock-hewn churches are seen in Lalibela. It is part of the breathtaking view of existing culture during that time. This sight alone makes this tourist area, popular from around the world. Most of the churches carved from the living rocks during this time, around the 12th and 13th centuries. There are approximately 13 churches in the area.

It is believed the first European to see the churches was a Portuguese explorer named Pero da Covilha - Also, Francisco Alvares visited in the early 1500s. It is also believed that Miguel de Castanhoso visited Lalibela’s stone-hewn churches. After this time, it was nearly 300 years before another European visited the area.

Lalibela also homes a large market place, a hospital, as well as school. It has an airport within the city as well. Recent figures suggest that the population of Lalibela is estimated around 15,000. 

Lalibela’s view is breath taking, and its history is so rich and vivid. If you have not seen the area, then you are missing out on one of the most exciting views in northern Ethiopia.