The land of Ethiopia, rich in natural, cultural and religious treasures and centered on the crossroads between North Africa, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa is consistently hailed as a must-see destination. Its 2,500 years of documented history (and 1500 years of Christian observance) has been ruled by a dramatic progression of warlords, emperors, and kings. Ethiopia’s 80 distinct ethnic groups each contributes to the rich cultural stew of life today which abounds with colorful ceremonies, traditional and sacred music, dance and theater.
The best way to see it? In the company of Patricia Schultz, author of NYTimes #1 Bestseller 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.
ET African Journeys is offering one 10-day trip – April 25 – May 4, 2013 – with an itinerary featuring three UNESCO World Heritage Sites which includes seven churches and six castles built in the mid-1600s in the fortress-city of Gondar. Plus: the art treasury of the Debre Birhan Selassie Church and the Falasha (Ethiopian Jewish) Village and Synagogue. It is in Gondar that castles built in the 7thcentury overlook Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile.
“It is surprising to me that with its mix of rich history, gorgeous scenery and beautiful people Ethiopia isn’t positively overrun by tourists,” Schultz has stated. “Africa’s best kept secret is hiding in plain sight! Stunning UNESCO sites in the north, and the remote and inaccessibleOmo Valley to the south, a whole other world of ancient tribes and fragile cultures visited by very few.”
The trip will also take participants to see 1,700-year old stelae (obelisks), St. Mary Zion Church and the Sanctuary Chapel, the reputed resting place of the biblical Ark of the Covenant in Axum near the Eritrean border. In Lalibela, built as a “New Jerusalem” by Emperor Lalibela in response to the Muslim capture of Jerusalem in 1187, the trip will visit some of the twelve UNESCO-designated subterranean churches cut from red volcanic rock – still places of active worship and pilgrimage destination.