Ethiopia remains a mysterious and unique cultural destination in black Africa. His discovery or rediscovery remains a great adventure beyond the traditional tourist trails. This expedition will be rich, spectacular and unique where the way of life has hardly changed. This circuit will be made of parties, unforgettable encounters with the local people who will be happy and proud to welcome you on its land for an exciting experience.
Celebrate Genna, which means Christmas, an important festival in the heart of all Ethiopians, especially for the Ethiopian Orthodox. The faithful attend Mass all night, going from one church to another. The nimble of particular outfit for this occasion and the faithful. Timkat celebrates Jesus' baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist and is also the day of the Ethiopian Epiphany. It is a sumptuous feast when the faithful dressed in white, in stark contrast with the rich velvet, satin and embroidered ceremonial items and priests officiating. Men churches (priests and deacons), accompanied by the faithful, head where different ceremonies will take place and where will be exposed the tabot, the eyes of the faithful in the world.
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Arrival in Addis Ababa, you will be greeted at the airport by the coordinator or assistant and accompanied to the hotel. The day will begin with cultural visits to Addis Ababa. But above all, witness a beautiful panoramic view of the capital starting to Mount Entoto. This hill, located North of the city, rises to 3200m. Addis Ababa, "new flower" in Amharic was based on a legend of Emperor Menelik and his wife Taitu. Lunch in town in a very popular restaurant of travelers. Visit Holy Trinity, a contemporary church built in 1948 in the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie. Enjoy the beauty of the stained glass windows of the church surrounded by a garden, place of worship of the Orthodox faithful. Dinner in town and overnight at hotel.
Take the morning flight to Lalibela. In the early thirteenth century, King Lalibela ordered the construction of eleven churches carved in the mass of tuff, a type of rock. The site of Lalibela reproduce the holy places in Jerusalem, linked by a system of tunnels and underground, distributed on either side of a river called Jordan. Lunch in town then visit of Northern churches in the afternoon.
"Medhanialem Bet" is the largest, supported by seventy-two pillars and hosts the gold cross of Lalibela. We will take the tunnel to Bet Medihanialem Mariam, that also has fabulous sculptures of various birds and animals. Then explore Bet Danaghel, a chapel built in honor of martyred nuns. Bet Golgotha and Michael are two twin churches. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
This is one of the best celebrations of the Orthodox religion. For this occasion you can admire the clothing of the faithful outfits and great religious leaders with great symbolic. To attend this ceremony the men and women of the country are able to walk up to three hundred kilometres by foot.
Spend the morning at the church-basement Yemrehana Krestos (''God shows us the Way''), forty-two kilometers from Lalibela. The rear of the church houses the tomb of King Saint Yemrehanna Krestos. This is the most beautiful church-monastery near Lalibela, built of wood and stone in a cave and one of the finest treasures of Ethiopian medieval art.
After lunch, the afternoon will be devoted entirely to the discovery of the second part of the churches of Lalibela. Throughout the day, guests can enjoy religious paintings, symbols and puzzles decorating the churches and admire many religious objects. Each church has its own story, strongly attached to Ethiopian culture myths. You will start with "Beta Amanuel", considered the most beautiful Ethiopian monolithic church in Axumite style, "Merkorios Beta", "Beta Gabriel and Raphael" and "Beta Abba Libanos". Finally we will finish by visiting the most famous church in the form of cross, "Beta Ghiorghis".
Drive to the very nice city of Mekele. According to historians, this city was dated on the thirteenth century but really flourished when Emperor Yohannes IV decided to establish his capital. This is where he built his palace of a surprising architecture, located on a point overlooking the city and offering a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains.
This day will be devoted to visiting the rock churches and meetings. Take the road to Hawzen to enjoy the Tigray region, known for its rock churches. Carved into the mountain walls annd in some incredible landscapes, they seem like the oldest churches of Ethiopia. On your way, visit the church of Abreha and Atsbéa. Arriving in the region Hawzen, go to the Papasetti Maryam church. This excursion will give you the opportunity to enjoy these churches, the beautiful landscape and experience the lifestyle of the inhabitants.
Today will also be devoted to visiting the rock churches and mettings. Morning hike to the heart of the area leading to the Abuna Gebre Mikael church. You can admire the picturesque views of the rocky peaks and the plain dotted with acacia trees. Accompanied by a clergyman, explore this cave church with beautiful frescoes. During our descent we will visit the surrounding villages to better understand their way of life. This excursion will give you the opportunity to enjoy these churches, the beautiful landscape and experience the lifestyle of the inhabitants.
Drive through the ups Tigray trays Yeha, a site that preserved Sabaean temple of the fifth century BC and was later converted into a church dedicated to Abba AFSE, one of nine mythical founders of Ethiopian Christianity, to the sixth century AD. Head to the site Yeha and explore the historical and cultural relationship established in the fourth century BC between the region of Tigray and the Southern Arabian kingdoms (Yemen).
We will visit the tombs of Kaleb and Gebre Meskel. Discover the stone of Ezana, remarkable for its inscriptions in three languages: Sabean, Greek and Ge'ez. Overview baths Queen of Sheba then discover the stelae field: granite monoliths dating from pre-Christian period and decorated with engravings. And finally see the ruins of the Palace of the Queen of Sheba. Discover the Church of Saint Mary of Zion. The legend says that its chapels houses the Ark of the Covenant. "The Guardian", only person authorised to access the chapel is the only person who can see him, kept under his protection.
Route through the splendid panoramas of Simien and Tsellemti. The massive Simien National Park (179 km²) that shelters in its heart is part of the World Heritage Site since 1979.
In Amharic, Simien means North. You will pass over mountainous areas of wild beauty. In the park, you will be surprised that many peaks over four thousands meters, and through all is the highest, Mount Ras Dejen (4543m above the sea level). In the mountains, people live relatively isolated from the relief. In the afternoon, road to Gondar.
Admire a surreal sight of the buildings of European inspiration in the heart of Africa. Continue your visit by Fasiledes baths and visit the Church of Debre Berhan Selassie (Light of the Trinity). The interior of Debre Berhan Selassie is decorated with beautiful frescoes of cherubs and paintings. It is said that it was once chosen as the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
Bahir Dar is a pleasant town on the shores of Lake Tana, the largest in all of Ethiopia. The morning will be devoted to an excursion to the source of the Blue Nile. We will reach the fantastic site Tissisat (Amharic water that smokes) and its vertiginous falls by walk.
After lunch we will continue to Lake Tana and its islands by boat. On the peninsula Zeghie, visit of the monastery churches of Ura Kidane-Mihiret, best known monasteries and Azoa Mariam, known for its paintings and one of the most remarkable examples of architecture and Ethiopian religious paintings. The officiating priest in this church is also the guardian of royal crowns, reflecting the importance of this place of worship for centuries.
Take the flight to Addis Ababa at midday, on the eve of Timkat, the day of the "Kebra" priests out the tabots churches. These replicas of the Ark of the Covenant leave in style churches, where usually they are kept out of sight. The tabots, wrapped in richly decorated fabrics are paraded on the heads of priests to the nearest water point, followed by the crowd of the faithful. Diner in town, overnight at the hotel.
For the second day of Epiphany Timkat, we will attend the ceremonies in the early morning. Chants and prayers have stopped during the night but will experience a renewed vitality in the morning. The holy water spraying will begin then. Each Orthodox Christian in Ethiopia believes that baptism is an opportunity to renew his vows. Next, new processions will be organized to accompany the tabots in their respective churches.
Celebrate the end of Timkat then visit the National Museum, an opportunity to discuss the History of Ethiopia: from the famous Lucy to the powerful ancient kingdom of Axum and medieval kingdoms gondariens. We will also go to the former palace of Haile Selassie, now home to the Museum of Ethnology. You can do your last shopping for souvenirs and we will reserve some surprises for you. Lunch in town and a farewell dinner with show dances and traditional music. Finally, accompaniment at the airport.
The price reflects this specific itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.
|Price per person from January 5 to January 20, 2017||$4,490|