Ethiopia is a country of great antiquity with a history and tradition dating back more than 3,000 years. The traveler on Historic Route of Ethiopia makes a journey through time transported by mysterious and extraordinary monuments, rock churches and edifices built long centuries ago. The Historic Route is truly where a shadow of the past still waves.
Ethiopia is like no other place in Africa. It is like a fabled hidden empire, offering a superior history of intriguing wealth with awe-inspiring and unrivaled religions, traditions and ancient heritages. The pre-Christian temple at Yeha is Sub Saharan Africa’s oldest building, constructed in the 5th BC. We discover the glory and riches of the Axumite Kingdom at the ancient city of Axum, which can be still pictured as we view the colossal rock stelae, the stone work of royal tombs and the legendary bath of the Queen of Sheba. The 16th century Church of St. Mary of Zion stands on the ruins of an earlier 4th century church and is the country’s oldest and holiest Christian shrine. Within its sanctuary is said to rest the original Ark of the Covenant, admittedly one of the most precious relics of Judeo-Christian tradition. Another great day of the trip begins when start viewing Ethiopia’s famous 12th century churches carved out of solid rock, which are attributed to King Lalibela. Some of the churches are monolithic, cut into volcanic rock, some are quarried enlargements of natural caves, and others are connected by a maze of underground tunnels. Ethiopia’s medieval capital for over 200 years and founded by Emperor Fassilides in 17th century, Gondar is the city of royal castles and fortress-like battlements. Referred as the jewels of Ethiopia, Lake Tana is dotted by numerous island monasteries of high religious significance. In the Middle Ages, churches sought refuge on these islands of Lake Tana and due in part to the difficult access these churches are to this day rich in the best of Ethiopia’s Religious paintings, illuminated manuscripts and other treasures.