Read this article to find out about just a few of the great sites to see in Ethiopia.
As one of Africa’s oldest countries, Ethiopia has many travel destinations that will satisfy any traveler’s need to see and experience new things. Along with the numerous ancient landmarks, there are resort towns, club life, shopping, and natural beauty. Not only that, but the people in Ethiopia eat delicious food, trade in bustling marketplaces, and make visitors feel welcome during their many traditional holidays. One could spend a year traveling Ethiopia and not see everything there is to see, but here are a few of the highlights that you really can’t miss if you go there.
Travel Highlights of Addis Ababa
The capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, is a hub of history, commerce, and nightlife. With just a touch of Italian architecture and art, Addis Ababa has both traditional and colonial elements. One popular place to shop is called The Piazza and has loads of restaurants, cafes, and shopping. Another popular shopping area is the Merkato which is more like an open market where one can feel free to barter with shop keepers. While driving down Bole Road, one will notice countless shopping centers which will cater to both traditional Ethiopian styles and Western trends. Interspersed with the shopping centers one can sip Bunna, or coffee at cafes and, at some of these cafes, one can surf the internet.
There are several historical sites to see in Addis Ababa. Skeletal remains of “Lucy”, the Australopithecus Afarensis hominid found in the Awash Valley in Ethiopia, are kept in Addis Ababa’s National Museum of Ethiopia. Very close to the museum is Genete Le’ul Palace or ‘princely paradise’ that was once the residence of Emperor Haile Selassie and is now part of Addis Ababa University.
One of the more glamorous cities in Ethiopia is Bahir Dar. There are several resorts to stay at and many of the streets are lined with flowers and palm trees. While you’re there, don’t miss Lake Tana, the head of the Blue Nile. If you take a ferry tour, you can see many of the monasteries located on the islands in Lake Tana. These monasteries are hundreds of years old and feature religious artwork known only in Ethiopia.
This small rural town is known to hold what is said to be the Eighth Wonder of the World, or the eleven churches that are carved entirely out of rock. These amazing structures were built around 900 years ago by workers commissioned by King Lalibela. His goal was to found a New Jerusalem for worshippers who were not able to make a pilgrimage to the holy land. The tops of churches are at ground level as they were carved down into the rock. The largest of the churches is 40 feet tall. They have intricate carvings and some have colorful wall paintings. The town itself is small and rustic with no pavement or gas stations.
In the 15th Century, this city became the country’s first permanent capital and holds many historic Ethiopian sites, like the many castles and palaces of royalty that were built about one hundred years later. Also one can see the bath of Emperor Fasiladas that was built around the same time.