Attractions in Ethiopia
With Africa’s largest number of sights placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, there is plenty to do during a trip to Ethiopia. One of the many UNESCO landmarks is the 32 Mysterious Stijas (flat stone with engravings or reliefs, used as tombstones or memorial stones). These stone rigidities of unknown age originate from an unknown culture, and are adorned with symbols that no one has yet managed to decipher. Another, however well-known, high culture is Aksumriket, the sacred headquarters of the Coptic Church, which is still a popular pilgrimage destination. The ruins of the magnificent empire can be seen near the city of Aksum, in northern Ethiopia. Here are ancient palaces, tomb paintings, huge obelisks and rigidities. Monoliths and stiffeners have been used as grave monuments in many places in the world, but Aksum is distinguished by the fine condition of the stiffeners, number and size. The largest weigh over 500 tons and are over 2,000 years old. It is also in Aksum that the Ark of the Covenant is kept, in the chapel at St. Mary of the Church of Zion.
The center of Ethiopia’s second great dynasty, Zagwe, is called Lalibela, also known by the nickname Ethiopia’s Jerusalem. The area’s 11 churches, directly carved into the rocks, have been used every day since they were built between the 11th and 13th centuries, and are still in use today. Each church, including stairs, windows, columns, etc., is carved out of a single boulder. The site is of course protected by the UNESCO Convention. Visit petwithsupplies for Ethiopia Tour Plan.
Another former capital is in Gondar, northeast of Lalibela. The city is often referred to as the “Camelot of Africa”, due to its many castles and palaces from the 17th and 18th centuries. In addition, some places in the area seem to be directly taken from medieval Europe. Under Emperor Fasilides, Gondar was a hub of culture and commerce, and the famous castle area contains six castles, of which Fasilides Castle is the most beautiful and well-preserved.
The capital Addis Ababa, Africa’s fourth largest city, is not charming at first glance, but a closer look at the city offers a lot of attractions, and can reveal a distinctive mix of old and new. The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity is the second largest in the country, and is the burial place of Haile Selassie and his wife Menen Asfaw. The small national museum is also well worth a visit. Here you will find, among other things, the famous ancient man Lucy, together with many other of East Africa’s most important finds of ancient people.
Ethiopia offers lots of picturesque nature, such as the large Lake Tana, which is beautifully and peacefully located in the middle of all the greenery. Just south of the lake, East Africa’s famous Blue Nile has its origins, and it is not far to the rushing waterfall Blue Nile. The lake’s biggest attraction, on the other hand, is the small islands with old churches and monasteries, which are scattered throughout the lake. The history of the buildings goes so far back in time that it is often impossible to determine, but is nonetheless fascinating. Twenty of the islands are home to countless sacred treasures, guarded by permanent monks. The monks are happy to show their taxes against payment. However, not all monasteries are open to female visitors.
Customs and traditions
Ethiopians are friendly and hospitable and visitors are expected to follow the country’s traditions when it comes to clothing. As a woman, you should preferably wear clothes that cover the elbows and go down over the knees. Men are welcome to wear long trousers.
Local shrines and traditions are expected to be respected. If you visit a mosque, you should take off your shoes. Women wear cover their hair with a shawl or similar.
The left hand is considered unclean and therefore one should not gesture or wave with the left hand. It is considered rude to point at someone or something and the western “thumbs up” is not room clean either.
In Ethiopia, the differences between rich and poor are great. Many people beg, we recommend donating things instead of money.
In Ethiopia, we live in slightly simpler hotels. In the big cities, e.g. Addis Ababa, we stay in larger hotels with the most common facilities. Otherwise, there may be simpler hotels / lodges, where you can not always count on a minibar or hairdryer in the room, and the availability of hot water may be limited. Regardless of standard, you always have a toilet and bathroom in the room. The final hotel list will be sent out together with the departure letter approximately one week before departure.
Food and drink
Ethiopian cuisine is characterized by spicy vegetable and meat dishes, usually in the form of wat, a thick stew served on injera, a large flatbread of sourdough. Ethiopians eat with their right hand and use the bread to pick up pieces of other dishes. No cutlery needed.
In traditional Ethiopian food, pork is never used, as most Ethiopians are either Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, Muslims or Jews. The coffee is generally very good, it is even said that the coffee bean originally came from Ethiopia.
On our trips to Ethiopia, we eat at nice restaurants and with full board on the round trip, the menu is mainly international.