THE HISTORIC ROUTE:
The Historic Route is one of the greatest treasures of Ethiopia. Nowhere else in the world can one see riches of mankind’s past as those found in northern Ethiopia. A history that stretches back to the time of prehistoric man, to more than 3000 years of history at Axum, the 12th Century rock hewn churches of Lalibela, medieval castles of Gondar and the island monasteries of Lake Tana. Riches that encompass the history of Ethiopia from early beginning to the modern day, riches that are set amongst some of the most stunning scenery of Ethiopia, and where people work today, just as their ancestors have done for generations.
Bahar Dar, which is about 560 kms north from Addis Ababa, is located on the southern shores of Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Niles’ most spectacular feature, the Tis Isat waterfalls. On the island of Dega Estefanos you will find the church of Saint Estefanos which has a priceless collection of icons and manuscripts and houses the mummified remains of a number of Ethiopian emperors.
Gondar, which Emperor Fasilides founded as his capital in 1636, is the site of numerous castle-like palaces dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. The city was Ethiopia’s capital until the reign of Emperor Tewodros II, also known as Theodore. During the long years when it was the capital, the settlement emerged as one of the largest, and most populous, cities in the realm. The oldest and the most impressive of Gondar’s many structures is the palace of Emperor Fasilidas. There are also numerous other fascinating historical buildings and relics, the most spectacular being, Debre Berhan Selassies.
Lalibela, which is about 642kms from the Federal capital, was once the thriving capital of medieval dynasties. Lalibela is internationally renowned for its rock-hewn churches which are sometimes called the eighth Wonder of the World. Carved out of the rock in which they stand, these towering edifices seem to be of superhuman creation in scale, workmanship and concept.
Axum, is the site of Ethiopia’s most ancient city and is renowned for its cathedral of St. Mary of Zion, where, as legend have it, the original Ark of the Covenant is housed. Axum is also famous for its seven mysterious monolithic stelae, carved from single pieces of granite and with identical decorations. The biggest of them is 33 meters high and weighs over 500 tons. It was the largest monolith in the World until it fell over and broke.
Yeha, which is about 54 km, an hour and half drive from the city of Axum, was possibly Ethiopia’s oldest major settlement. Yeha, which is set amid imposing mountain scenery, is the site of the country’s most ancient temple, a remarkable huge stone structure, and a fine and richly endowed Ethiopian church of modern time.
Harar is about 523 km east of Addis Ababa and its most dominant features are: its strong encircling walls, which tightly embrace the town; its rich and exciting market place, probably the most colorful in Ethiopia; its 98 mosques and the fully restored Rimbaud House named after the eccentric French poet. Harar has managed to retain its medieval character, charm and glory and is a most fascinating stopover for travelers.
Last Updated (Monday, 22 April 2013 09:24)