In the final entry to her Ethiopian diary, Rosie Sells explores Bahir Dar, Lake Tana, and the Blue Nile Gorge.
26th April, Friday: Gondar to Bahir Dar, Lake Tana
As if responding to our complaints the previous morning, the mid-night chorus of voices struck up again, but this time quite literally at midnight. Apparently the Easter week celebrations are stretched out to also include a repeat of Good Friday a week later. We found out later that in recent years the Orthodox Christian chanting has increased enormously in competition with the Muslims, especially in Gondar. Continue reading Ethiopia Diary days 9-11: Bahir Dar, Lake Tana, return to Addis Ababa | by Rosie Sells
In the latest entry to her Ethiopian diary, Rosie Sells visits Gondar, the historic capital of Ethiopia, and the Simien Mountains, one of Africa’s most beautiful (and endangered) wilderness parks. To read Rosie’s earlier diary entries, click here.
24th April, Wednesday: Lalibela to Gondar
As a city, Gondar came as quite a change from the ancient towns of Axum and Lalibela. It was founded in 1635 by Emperor Fasilidas and served as the imperial capital for 250 years in a strategic hilltop position in the southern foothills of the Simien mountains. It now functions largely as a university city and there are remnants of Italy’s military occupation.
22nd April, Tuesday: Fly Axum to Lalibela
According to legend, when King Lalibela was just a boy he was attacked by a swarm of bees but miraculously escaped without a single sting. Thus, he earned the name Lalibela which translates as ‘honey eater’. King Lalibela reigned in the 11th century, and it was under his rule that the 11 unique monolithic churches were constructed. Hewn directly out of the rock in the ground, these perplexing creations are believed to have been the result of a dream. Lalibela dreamt that he must create a symbolic Jerusalem for pilgrims to visit and worship, beneath the ground. Everything in the area is symbolic, including a small stream representing the river Jordan, and collectively it has been nominated the unofficial eighth wonder of the world.
While exploring the rock church of Abuna Yemata in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, I wondered at the remarkable way in which Ethiopia has preserved its cultural heritage over the years.
Tigray Churches on the Ethiopia Historic Route
20th April, Easter Sunday: Easter service and drive to Axum
On Easter Sunday we woke up to the breathtaking surroundings of Gheralta Lodge, where we had stayed that night. Individual circular lodges, camouflaged in their setting, were positioned facing out towards a stunning landscape. It was in this setting that we held our Easter Sunday service having climbed to a high and isolated position. As we took communion the vast plains which had been particularly effected by famine in earlier years stretched out before us. The significance of the moment was not lost. Continue reading Ethiopia Diary Days 3-4: Easter in Axum | by Rosie Sells
Rosie Sells is currently in northern Ethiopia on a G&M-organised tour of the region’s magnificent Christian sites, including Axum, Lalibela, Bahir Dar, and Tigrai. She has been kind enough to keep a diary for us, the first entries of which are published below. Look out for further entries in the coming days. Continue reading Ethiopia Diary Days 1-2: Addis Ababa to Tigrai | by Rosie Sells
Ethiopia Historic Route tours bring to life the spread of Christianity in sub-Saharan Africa from antiquity to the present day.
“There is nothing in sub-Saharan Africa – in a sense, nothing else in the world – that prepares the visitor for the wealth of historical and cultural treasures, both ancient and living, contained in northern Ethiopia.” Philip Briggs, Bradt Guide to Ethiopia. Continue reading Ethiopia Historic Route Tours – Christianity in Ethiopia