Interesting about tourism. A place you stay away from one year is next year’s “go to.” Take Ethiopia. Known for years for its extreme poverty, Ethiopia now has a different perception. New developments are being built, including new hotels to encourage tourism and a middle-class is emerging.
Things to do in Ethiopia will astound you, and that includes the 11 huge underground churches carved out of rock in Lalibela, 500 miles north of Addis Ababa. This is one jaw-dropping experience!
The churches were created sometime between the 5th and 15th centuries. No one seems to be quite sure of the date since each took a long time to build. One thing is certain. Even though they are monoliths, they were built solely by medieval Ethiopians. The churches are actually “freed” out of the sandstone rock and are connected by tunnels and trenches. Some have bas reliefs and colored frescoes. The priests that are there today follow the same traditions as all of those before them.
The most finely executed and the best preserved of these churches is Biete Givorgio (Church of St. George). It is in the shape of the cross. The Abune Yemata Guh Church is reached by a narrow ledge and a makeshift bridge. All of the churches are extraordinary in themselves and you will be amazed that they were created by hand — something that will stay with you forever. Everyone is welcome to these churches whether they are Christian or not.
It is easy to get to Lalibela as flights from Addis Ababa fly there every day. Ethiopian Airlines is a world-class airline and one of the fastest-growing in Africa, with flights all over the world.
Tradition tells us that Ethiopia was founded by Menelik I, Solomon’s first son, born to the Queen of Sheba. It was one of the earliest nations to convert to Christianity and some of the Apostles may have been familiar with it. Ethiopia is the only country in Africa that was never colonized or conquered.
Ethiopia is so mountainous that it is sometimes called the Roof of Africa. It is also the source of the Blue Nile and has more than 850 bird species along with other wildlife. The people of Ethiopia are warm, friendly and hospitable. The cuisine is delicious and distinctive. The “new” Ethiopia is buzzing with activity but the history and culture are still very much alive.
All books are available at amazon.com. Click on title for more information.
Ethiopia: Bradt Travel Guide
by Philip Briggs
Lonely Planet Ethiopia
by Jean Bernard Carillet
Ethiopia – Culture Smart
by Sarah Howard
Everything You Ned to Know About Ethiopia
by Motuma Kaba
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