Destination: Addis Ababa -Bahir Dar- Gondar-Axum- Lalibela -Addis Ababa
Tour Code: TT-1030
Duration: 8 Days and 7 Nights
Tour Title: Historic Route with Timket Festival in Gondar
Transportation: Surface and flight
The festivals of Ethiopia are colorful, fascinating and are all year round. Both traditional and religious festivals are celebrated by its diverse ethnic groups with their picturesque native lives in their most rustic settings. This festival is staged every year on January 19th to commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ by the hands of John the Baptist at the River Jordan. On the eve of the day, Tabots (the Replica of the Ark of the Covenant) are taken out from the holy of holies in all the churches of Ethiopia. And the Tabots are taken to the side of a river or water body for an overnight stay, except the Tabot of Archangel Michael which stays for two nights. The Tabots are accompanied with great procession while they are taken out and brought back to their respective churches.
Day 1. Arrival to Addis Ababa and transfer in to hotel.
Day 2. Fly from Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar and visit the Blue Nile Falls. After lunch, In the afternoon, have a boat trip on Ethiopia’s largest water body – Lake Tana (3,600 Km Sq) to visit the island monasteries of Ura Kidane Mihret (14th Century AD) and Azwa Mariam (14th Century AD).
Day 3. Drive from Bahir Dar to Gondar – the 17th century capital of Ethiopia. This afternoon, visit the most colorful religious celebration of the eve of Timket (Epiphany) which is held to memorize the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. All the replicas of the Ark of the Covenant will be accompanied by crowds of colorfully dressed Christians to a nearby water place. The priests and the deacons of the churches spend the night praying, singing religious songs and dancing. Overnight hotel
Day 4. Early in the morning at about 5:00, attend prayers and religious music with a fascinating priest dance; then have a quick breakfast and participate the celebration on which the replicas of Ark of the Covenant will be accompanied back to its respective churches with the same dancing and singing. In the afternoon, visit the Imperial Castle Compound of Gondar, the Bath of Emperor Fasiladas and the church of Debre Birhan Sillassie which is famous for its wall and ceiling paintings. Overnight hotel
Day 5. Fly to Axum – the earliest capital of Ethiopia. Visit the Archaeological museum of Axum, the famous stele park (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the church of St. Mary of Zion which is believed to be the last resting place of the original Ark of the Covenant, the palace and tomb of King Kaleb and Gebre Meskel (6th Century AD), and the ruin palace of the Queen of Sheba (9th Century BC). Overnight hotel
Day 6. Fly to Lalibela – the home of the 12th rock hewn churches and Ethiopia’s top tourist attraction. In the afternoon, visit the first group of the rock hewn churches of Lalibela. Overnight hotel
Day 7. In the morning, mule ride to the hill top semi monolithic church of Asheten Mariam (13th century AD). Getting to the top of the hill rewards with great and unforgettable scenery of the area. In the afternoon, visit the remaining second and the third group of the churches of Lalibela. Overnight hotel
Day 8. Fly back to Addis Ababa and have a half day city tour, which includes visiting the National Archeological Museum of Addis Ababa, Merkato – the largest open air market in Africa, and driving to Mt. Entoto (3,200 meters) to have a panoramic view of the capital, then Departure.