Tigray and Gheralta Churches

The Tigray region has plenty more, older ones, with more paintings, special architecture; remote locations….Over 125 rock hewn churches are recorded with Tigray-alone. These churches date from 4th-15th century. Most of them are visited around the Gheralta chained mountains. Others are found in eastern and southern Tigray.

Gheralta, northwest of Mekelle, the capital of Tigray, is the home of a quarter of the rock churches, some famous for their stone workmanship, ancient paintings and old manuscripts, and others known for their magnificent view and difficult ascent. Some four hours drive from Axum-plus a further two hours, stiff uphill walk from the road ends – lies the monastery of Debre Damo, situated on a cliff top in one of the wildest part of Tigray.

Historical and Cultural Tour by Surface 14 Days

14 days tour to Kombolcha, Lalibela, Asheten Mariam, Axum, Bahir Dar and other histrical and cultural tour by surface.

Tour destination Historic route by drive
Tour duration 14 days /13nights

Day 01: Kombolcha, about 376kms

After breakfast drive to Kombolcha to the north east road via Debre Birhan & Tarmaber here you will pass through an impressive Italian –built tunnel
Overnight: Sunny side Hotel www.sunysidehotel.com

Day 02: Drive to Lalibella, about 320kms

Today after breakfast start drive to Lalibela via Woldiya, Hayk and Dessie en route there is an interesting landscapes and farmhouses. En route visit Nakuto Le’ab, which is located 6km from Lalibela town the monastery accredited to Nakuto Le’ab consists of a relatively simple church built around a shallow cave in which severer holly pool are feed by natural springs. Then after having lunch at Weldiya drive to Hayk and visit Hayk hayk Estifanos church (not open for women)
Overnight: Mountain View Hotel 

Day 03: City tour of Lalibella

Today After breakfast start the tour to explore the town, visit the internationally renowned rock Hewn churches known as ‘Eight wonders of the world’ the Lalibella rock hewn churches, physically praised from the rock in which they stand, these towering edifices seems to be superhuman creation in scale workman ship and concept. Some are sculpted out of solid volcanic rock. Others are connected by long underground tunnels and mazes. Some are quarried enlargements of caves.
You will visit the first group of six churches lie in rock cradles one behind the other: Bet Golgotha, Bet Mikael, Bet Mariam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel and Bet Medhane Alem. Bet Medhane Alem, the largest one is built like a Greek Temble. In a corner there are three empty graves symbolically dug for biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Bet Giyorgis possibly the most elegant of all the Lalibela churches, lies somewhat isolated in the southwest part of the village on a sloping rock terrace. It can only be reached through a tunnel. The group of four, south of the Jordan River, comprise of Bet Emanuel, Bet Mercuiros, Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Gabriel-Rufa'el.
Bet Emanuel's elaborate exterior is much praised by art historian.

Overnight: Mountain View Hotel

Day 04: Excursion to Asheten Mariam

Today you will drive to the church of Ashetun Mariam; there are wonderful views of the surrounding countryside from the top of the mountain. Finally drive back to Lalibela for the overnight.

Overnight: Mountain View 

Day 05: Drive Mekelle, about 280kms
After breakfast drive to Mekele via Sekota, it is 300 km from Lalibela. En route visit the cave church of Yemrehane Christos, built by the king of the same name before the reign of King Lalibela. The church is constructed inside a cave, in Axumite style, similar to the church at Debre Damo, with alternating levels of wood and stone. Finally drive to Mekele for overnight stay

Overnight: Planet hotel

Day 06: Drive Axum, about 235kms

After breakfast drive to Axum and route visit the rock church of Wukro Cherkos and Abreha Atsbeha Church, the Abraha Atsbeha church is a rock-hewn church. Its interior is painstakingly decorated. Then continue to drive to Axum.

Overnight: Yeha hotel 

Day 07: City tour of Axum

Axum, from around 200 BC to 700 AD, Axum was the seat of an Empire which extended across the Red Sea to Arabia, traded with India and China, had its own alphabet and notational system, constructed great engineering works and dams and which was reckoned in the 4th century to be one of the four great powers of the ancient World. Today the visitor can see Stella (the largest single pieces of stone erected anywhere – how they were brought from the quarry and erected is still not fully understood), the tombs and castles of king Empire King Kaleb , Gebre Meskel , Queen of Sheba, Inscriptions of Ezana, archeological Axum Museum and Mariam Tsion Church, built on the site of Ethiopia’s first church. A chapel within the church compound is believed by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians to house the Ark of the Covenant, or the original tablets of Moses.

Overnight: Yeha hotel 

Day08: Drive to Semein Mountain, about 285kms

Set off early on the road to Simien Mountain. Skirting the Simien Mountains; to the east. Ascend to the Tekezze Gorge, and then steadily descend, passing through clouds at different stages throughout the day. The descent from the Takezze is considered a feat of engineering by the Italian road builders then precede to Simien Mountain National park.

The Simien Mountains National Park presents perhaps the most dramatic scenery in Africa – great volcanic plugs, formed some 40 million years ago. In the Simien visitors can see the endemic Gelada or bleeding heart baboon, the Walia Ibex, the Ethiopian Wolf and rock hyrax, and endemic birds such as the Thick billed Raven, Black headed Siskin, White Collared Pigeon, Wattled Ibis, White billed Starling, Spot breasted Plover and White backed Black Tit. Cruising Lammergeyers are often seen. The park is also famous for its Afro-Alpine flora, meadows and grasslands punctuated by Giant Lobelia and Red Hot Pokers.Overnight: Simien Lodge 

Day 09: Drive to Gondar, it’s about 135km

After taking breakfast start to drive to Gondar. There is an interesting countryside and Scenic Mountain View En route visit the former Felasha (Ethiopian Jews) village at Wolleka, to buy some of the characteristic pottery sold there. (Most of the Felasha or Bait Israel as they prefer to be called was taken to Israel in the 1980s). Finally processed to Gonder for overnight

Overnight: Goha Hotel,

Day 10: City tour of Gondar

After taking breakfast you will start to explore the town Emperor you will start to explore the town Emperor Fasilidas founded Gondar as his imperial seat in 1636 and the city was both the capital and a great commercial center from 17th to the mid-19th century. Visit the Royal Enclosure or Fasil Gibbi within the compound and also the castles built by the various emperors of Gondar. A 2 km drive from the town center you will bring you to the bath of King Fasilides, where, during at Timkat (Ethiopian Epiphany) a nearby river is diverted to fill an area the size of a small swimming pool. Worshippers plunge into the cold water in a re-enactment of the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan.

Continue drive 2 km to the north east of the Royal Enclosure to visit the Debre Berhane Selassie church, the only church that was saved from Mahdist invasion in the 1880s. According to legend, a swarm of bees routed the invaders. The walls and ceiling of this church are completely covered with murals - the angels’ faces on the ceiling have become a common motif in Ethiopian design.

Overnight: Goha Hotel

Day 11: Bahir Dar, 180kms

Drive to Bahir Dar, it’s about and check into your hotel. Bahir Dar is one of the Ethiopian's most attractive towns, with its Palm lined avenues, flamboyant trees and scenic location on the southern shore of Lake Tana. The Lake is the source of the Blue Nile and famous for its many monasteries.

After lunch drive to the Blue Nile Falls, some 30-km from the town. A 20-minute walk brings us to the falls themselves, which are at their most spectacular during and after the rainy season (from June to January). Here the Blue Nile, which contributes 85% of the main Nile flow, starts its long journey to the Mediterranean.

Overnight: Kuriftu Resort and Spa

Day 12: Boat trip over Lake Tana and city tour of Bahir Dar

After breakfast you will have a boat trip Over Lake Tana, it is Ethiopians largest lake. Today, the lake is most famous as the home of the monasteries established on some 20 of its 37 islands. By boat travel across to Zeghe peninsula and visit the two churches of Ura Kidane Mehirat and Azuwa Mariam it was built in late 13th and 14th century. The churches are known by their incredible jumble of murals.

In the afternoon you will have the city tour of Bahir Dar. The city tour includes visiting the local market and the former palace of Emperor Haile Selassie at Bezawit Hill, with great views of the town and the place where the Blue Nile flows out of the lake.

Overnight: Kuriftu Resort and Spa 

Day 13: Drive to Addis Ababa, 565kms

Today after breakfast drive back to Addis Aabab, en route you will visit Debre Libanos Monastery an important monastic center for Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, the monastery there was founded by the renowned 13th century mystic, Saint Teklehaimanot and there is a small cave near the church (which is of recent construction) where he is said to have stood for seven years on one leg, until the other wasted away and dropped off. And then, descend to the Blue Nile Gorge .then continue drive back to Addis Ababa .and in the evening you will have a farewell dinner in one of the traditional Restaurant in Addis Ababa with traditional Ethiopian's food and cultural dances together with us.

Overnight: Hilton Hotel 

Day 14: Departure

Historical and Cultural Tour by Flight for 5 Days

Duration: 5 days

Day 01: Early Morning, Fly to Bahir Dar

Bahir Dar, an attractive town, well lay out with tree lined avenues and with the blue of the lake in the background. Tana, Ethiopian largest lake, dotted with not less than 30 islands, on many of, which are found churches and monasteries. And the magnificent Blue Nile Fall is about 35-km /45min drive from the town. Visit the nearby monastery of the Zeghie Peninsula, known for its 14th century, round, grass roofed churches and their magnificent wall murals, the Azoa Mariam and Ura Kidane Mehret churches by a boat.

Historical and cultural Tour by Flight 8 day

Duration: 8 days

Day 01: Early Morning, Fly to Bahir Dar

Bahir Dar, an attractive town, well lay out with tree lined avenues and with the blue of the lake in the background. Tana, Ethiopian largest lake, dotted with not less than 30 islands, on many of, which are found churches and monasteries. And the magnificent Blue Nile Fall is about 35-km /45min drive from the town. Visit the nearby monastery of the Zeghie Peninsula, known for its 14th century, round, grass roofed churches and their magnificent wall murals, the Azoa Mariam and Ura Kidane Mehret churches by a boat.