8-DAYS TOUR ST. MARY OF ZION FESTIVAL
8-DAYS TOUR TO HISTORICAL ROUTES OF NORTHERN ETHIOPIA WITH ST. MARY OF ZION FESTIVAL AT AXUM
This festival is celebrated once a year to venerate St. Mary and especially to honor the believed existence of the Ark of the Covenant in St. Mary church of Axum. It is celebrated on November 30th (December 1st in a leap year), Hidar 21 according to the Ethiopian calendar.the celebration starts from the eve of the actual festival date. Axum Zion (Hidar Zion) is associated with the presence of the Ark of the Covenant in Axum. This church is the first to be built in Ethiopia. This festival is attended by hundreds and thousands of people from all over the World every year, making it one of the most joyous annual pilgrimages in Axum, the “sacred city of the Ethiopians”.
In this historical route tours you will visit the historical routes of northern Ethiopia encompasses a history that stretches back to the time of prehistoric man; to the 3,000 year old history of Axum; the famous 12th century rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, and the Medieval castles of Gondar, which is Known as Africa’s Camelot. The more modern city of Bahir Dar lies on Lake Tana at the outlet of the Blue Nile, within day trip distance of the spectacular Blue Nile Falls and more than a dozen of medieval period’s historic island monasteries.
Duration: 7 Nights /8 Days
Tour Code: EAET502
Day 1: Arrival Addis Ababa and City Tour
On arrival Addis Ababa EAET representative will meet you at Bole international Airport and transfer to the Hotel, start visiting the city from National Museum, where Ethiopia’s oldest resident, Lucy is housed, Ethnological Museum at Addis Ababa University, continue with Holy trinity church and you will enjoy a panoramic view of the capital with fresh air hill top of Mount Entoto. Overnight stay on reserved Hotel
Day 2: Fly to Bahir Dar and Visit Lake Tana Island Monasteries & Blue Nile Falls
Early the morning take flight to Bahir Dar upon arrival, you will met GEAET Tour guides and transfer to the Hotel. After short beak you will take a boat trip to the medieval period island Monasteries on Lake Tana such as the Zegie Peninsula visit Ura Kidan Mihret, Azewa Mariyam and the island monastery of Debre Maryam near the outlet of the Blue Nile River. After lunch you will drive to the majestic Blue Nill falls. Overnight stay on reserved Hotel
Day 3: Drive to Gondar and City Tour
You will be driven to Gondar (185 Km) through country side .Then you will check into a hotel and after a brief break, you will visit to the Royal Castles & the Bath of Emperor Fasiledes (the bath is filled with water for the important Timkat (epiphany) ceremony once a year. You will continue your visit to Debre Birhan Selassie Church (Trinity at the Mount of Light), the Castle of Empress Mintewab, and Kuskwam Complex which is a royal compound built by the Empress Mentewab. Early in the evening, you will visit ‘Azmari Bet’ at Traditional Music Houses after which you will have dinner at the hotel .Overnight stay on Reserved Hotel.
Day 4: Lalibela ‘’the 8th Wonders of the World’’
After breakfast, another short flight will take you to Lalibela. Upon arrival, you will be met by GEAET tour guides, drive to a hotel where you will check and rest for few minutes. Your first visit will be to the eleven Rock-hewn Monolithic (carved from a single rock) Churches of Lalibela, The first group of Lalibela Churches includes: Bete Medhanialem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagl and Bete Gologota Michal, the second group of Lalibela Churches that includes: Bete Gebral, Bete Merquros, Bete Emanule, Betelehiam, Bete Aba Libanos and the spectacular cross-shaped St. George Church. Overnight stay in reserved Hotel
Day 5: Asheton Mariam, Yimrehan Kristos churches
After breakfast you will go mules ride to the hilltop of Lalibela, the 13th century AD Semi- Monolithic Church of Asheten Mariam (2hrs ride per way) Or drive some 42kms to Yimrehane Kristos Church, it is built –up church under a huge basaltic cave, North East of Lalibela, On mountain ridge with an altitude of 2681m. Overnight stay on reserved Hotel
Day 6: Axum
Fly to Axum en route visit Nakuto Lab and after check in to the hotel, start visiting the Stele. It is the great 4th Century Obelisks, these blocks of granite is carved in a representation of multi-storied buildings; the tallest at over 33 meters represents a 13 storey building. Also see Queen Sheba’s Bath, the King Kaleb and Gebre Mesquel Tombs, and the Tomb of King Bazen, the Archeological Museum, and the St. Mary Church of Zion (the original Ark of Covenant is believed to be rested in this Church). Overnight stay on Reserved Hotel
Day 7: Celebration of St. Mary Zion (Hidar Zion) Festival
This day we will attend the early in the morning. Chants and prayers have stopped during the night but will experience a renewed vitality in the morning. “Hidar Zion” is associated with the presence of the Ark of the Covenant in Axum and the belief that the Ark itself is a symbolism to her womb. This festival is attended by tens of thousands of people from all over Ethiopia, making it one of the most joyous annual pilgrimages in Axum, the “sacred city of the Ethiopians.”
Day 8: Flight back to Addis Ababa and departure back to home
After breakfast transfer to the airport and fly back to Addis Ababa, visit Mercato, one of Africa’s largest outdoor markets. Evening we will have fare well dinner in one of the Ethiopian restaurant for cultural dances from the different ethnic groups. Then transfer to the airport for flight back home.
- Note: The above program can be adjusted according to your time, Budget and interest.