Tour code: IETT-011
Program: Cultural and Historical Tour
Day 1: Sightseeing of Addis Ababa
Arrival at Bole International Airport. Warm reception by IETT guide and driver and Transfer to hotel for check-in. City tour of Addis Ababa including the panoramic view point Entoto Mountain, Merkato, said to be Africa’s largest market of its kind, and the National Museum (home of Lucy, hominid skeleton dating back 3.2 million years) and the ethnographic museum. Overnight in Addis Ababa.
Day 2: Addis Ababa-Bahir Dar (Lake Tana and Blue Nile fall)
Fly to Bahir Dar. In the morning take a boat trip on Lake Tana to explore the
monasteries hidden on the shores and islands of Lake Tana. In the afternoon, take a city tour of Bahir Dar, visiting Bezawit Hill and the former palace of Haile Selassie, as well as the bustling market. In the afternoon depart out of town to the Blue Nile Falls for an easy hike in the area. Finish the day with a lovely sunset over the lake. Overnight in Bahir Dar.
Day 3: Sightseeing of the Gondar
in the morning, drive Bahir Dar north to Gondar. Explore the sites of Gondar, including a visit to the Royal Enclosure, with six castles and several other buildings. Additionally, visit Fasilidas’s Pool, still used for Timket celebrations today, Debre Birhan Selassie church, with the most famous ceiling in Ethiopia and Kuskuam, a former palace in a partial state of ruin overlooking the ancient city of Gondar. Overnight in Gondar
Day 4: Gondar-Axum
In the morning, fly Gondar to Axum. Today is a full day visiting the sites in Axum. Sites to visit include the famous obelisks, the Queen of Sheba’s Bath (which supplies water to Axum year-round), King Bazen’s tomb, and the Queen of Sheba’s Palace. You will also visit the St. Mary of Zion church, where the Ark of the Covenant is kept, according to local Ethiopian tradition. Men only are allowed to enter the old church. Unfortunately, no one (except one specially chosen guardian monk) is allowed to enter the chapel where the Ark is kept. Overnight in Axum
Day 5: Axum-Yeha-Debre Damo-Axum
After breakfast, drive to visit the ruins of Yeha, dating from the 8th to 5th centuries BC, and thought to be the capital of Ethiopian civilization before Axum. Afterwards, visit the Debre Damo monastery, where the men climb up a 15-m rope to enter the uphill situated monastery. Return to Axum for overnight.
Day 6: Axum-Lalibela
In the morning take a flight to Lalibela, the most famous of all of the Ethiopian historical sites. After lunch, begin to explore the 11 rock-hewn churches of the remarkable king Lalibela, visiting the Northwestern Cluster of churches - Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael & Bet Golgotha. Overnight hotel in Lalibela
Day 7: Lalibela
In the morning, visit the Southeastern Cluster of churches – Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanual, and Bet Abba Libanos. Finally, visit the most famous of all the churches – Bet Giyorgis, a huge monolith in the shape of a cross, and constructed in honor of St. George, the patron saint of Ethiopia. After lunch, take an afternoon trip to visit the church of Yimrehanne Kristos. The most popular of the churches outside of Lalibela, this church is built in the late-Axumite style, with layers of wood and granite, set in the entrance to a large cavern. After the visit, return to Lalibela for overnight.
Day 8: Lalibela-Addis Ababa-Departure
Fly back to Addis Ababa. In the evening/afternoon, farewell party with cultural dinner and traditional special buffet and local drinks to experience Ethiopia’s cultural meals and drinks. After farewell party transfer to Bole international airport for international departure. End of Tour