THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS IN NORTHERN ETHIOPIA
BAHIR DAR is located on the southern shores of Lake Tana from where excursions by boat can be made to the lake's islands and peninsulas and to the "Tissisal Falls", (the most spectacular waterfalls of the country).The fascinating Blue Nile Falls are situated 35 km southeast of Bahar Dar. The Blue Nile draws its strength from the large reservoir, Lake Tana. Set at 1,830 in. above sea level. The lake includes more than 30 islands and peninsulas, most of which shield ancient monasteries, decorated with wonderful wall paintings from the 12th to the 20th century. Among its multitude of monasteries, some can only be visited by men.
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GONDAR surrounded by the lower hills of the Southern Semien Mountains, lies at 2,200 m. above sea level. "The City of the Castles" is one of Ethiopia's most fascinating cities, founded by Emperor Fasilidas in 1632. At this time, Gondar became the royal capital city of the country in subsequent years; several castles were built, each unique in size and architecture. Gondar is a city rich in fabulous history and ancient monuments. For many centuries it was the center of fine arts, music, science, religion, commerce and administration. The most interesting church of Gondar is "Debre Berehan Selassie". This Trinity-Church is built in a rectangular shape, its ceilings are decorated with beautiful winged angels, and its walls with impressive scenes depicting biblical events.
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LALIBELA set at 2,600 m. above sea level in the rugged mountains in the northern end of Wollo, is the most exciting attraction of the country. From here the Zagwe Dynasty ruled the country for several centuries. Formerly known as Roha, the town of Lalibela bears the name of its most famous king: "Lalibela" (1181-1221 AC). He was the one who gave orders to carve the churches out of solid rock. There are in total 11 amazing churches, some of which are monolithic, architecturally unique buildings, finely carved, some decorated with beautiful paintings. There is nothing that could be more attractive than the fascinating and impressive churches with their ancient architecture and carvings. The churches of Lalibela are considered to be the Eighth Wonder of the World.
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AXUM is one of the most important archaeological sites of Ethiopia. It is well known for its ruins of the palace of the legendary Queen of Sheba who reigned around 1000 BC. The greatest mystery of all, however, is that the son of the Queen of Sheba, Menelik I, first king of the Solomonic Dynasty, brought with him the Ark of the Covenant from the Temple of Jerusalem to Axum. The Ark of the Covenant is believed still to be kept in the Church of St. Mary of Zion erected on the original location of the oldest church of Ethiopia. The Axumite Kingdom's conversion to Christianity in the 4th century makes Ethiopia, after Armenia and Georgia, the third oldest Christian country. The site of the country's most ancient city, shields and shelters a great number of priceless relics. Other ancient sites are the 2,000 years old stelae, (some are even much older), which are made from single blocks of granite carved to represent multistory houses.
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EASTERN ATTRACTION HARAR
The Medieval "Walled City", with its 99 mosques and shrines, is considered the fourth most sacred centre of the Islamic World. A strong stone and mud wall with five large gates surround the town of Harar. Harari women are famous for making beautiful baskets while the town's silversmiths are famous for their attractive jewelry. Places of interest to be visited in Harar are: the "Rimbaud House" which is named after the famous French poet who lived there in 1880,the rich and exciting market places, the house of Ras Mekonnen and the Hyena-man performance who, in the early evening feeds his wild friends, the hyenas, with meat and bones which he holds between his teeth.
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