Harar is a walled city which stands on the eastern wall of the Great Rift Valley and is the
provincial capital of Ethiopia’s largest administrative region, Hararge. The city’s location gives
wonderful views of the surrounding country – the vast Danakil desert to the north, the fertile
Harar Mountains to the west, and the cattle rich Ogaden plains to the south.
Harar is considered as a holy city by the Muslims, and within its walls are no less than 90
mosques. It was founded in the 12th century and in 1520 was captured by Ahmed Gragn (the
left-handed) who from Harar invaded large parts of Ethiopia. In 1875 Harar was captured by
the Egyptians and in 1887 by Menelik II who appointed Ras Makonnen, whose army defeated
the Italians at Adwa and father of Haile Selassie, as its governor.
All around the walled city we find bigger and smaller markets famous for basket, spices and
chat.
The Hyena man is considered as one of the tourist attractions of Harar, Here one can see men
feeding the hyenas in the evening.
The major beauties of Harar are its colorful people and its unique atmosphere. It’s a pleasure to
walk around the city, look at the people and bargain at the markets. As a centre of commerce
which it used to be, Harar feels like a place where people live and let live, a laizez faire
mentality.

The beautiful city lined with palm trees, means “the Lakeside town”. The city which is visited
with “tankuas” (papyrus canoes) is famous for Lake Tana, which is the largest water body in
Ethiopia and the source of the Blue Nile fall.
Bahirdar has recently been voted one among three promising cities in Africa; a good news for
its residents and for the whole nation.
The city is as pleasant as you’ll find for relaxing and viewing Lake Tana and the weather is
probably the best in Ethiopia.
Lake Tana is the source of the Blue Nile which floats from there to the Sudan. Just 30
kilometers outside of Bahir Dar one finds the famous Blue Nile Falls. In Ethiopia they call it
Tisissat, which means “Water that smokes”. The water of the Blue Nile or “Tis Isat”, was
discovered in 1770 by Bruce James, the famous British explorer,
The town is unique for the thirty-seven scattered islands in Lake Tana. They are accessed
through boats where about twenty of them are shelter for churches and monasteries that are
culturally and historically significant to the country.

Gondor was the capital of Ethiopia from the rise of Fasilades to the fall of Tewodros (1855-68)
which is reflected in the many castles and palaces in the city.
The city’s main imperial precinct, known as the Royal Enclosure, covers an area of 7.7 hectares
and contains five castles, raised walkways and connecting tunnels surrounded by high stone
walls.
The oldest of these is the Castle of Fasilades. Built of stone in the mid-17th century it reflects a
number of influences, Axumite, Portuguese and Indian. The upper storey offers panoramic
views and Lake Tana is visible on a clear day. The castle has been renovated recently.
Fasilades grandson, Lyasu the great, built his own castle and decorated it with ivory, gold and
precious stones but an earthquake in the early 19th caused severe damage.
The palace of Ras Beit, was built in the 18th century as a private residence of the famous king
maker, Ras Mikael Sehul and has been in continuous occupation ever since.
Bath of Fasilades is a sunken pool still used for the Timkat Festival in January.

Lalibela is a small town in the middle of the Ethiopian highlands. It’s surrounded by a rocky and
dry area where just in the raining period farmers can grow their crops. One’s called Roha and
the capital of the Zagwe Dynasty which ruled over Ethiopia from the 10th century to the mid-
13th century. It was King Lalibela who builds the 13 rock -hewn churches.
800 year old Lalibela or Roha (the old name for Lalibela) is the second holiest city in Ethiopia,
after Axum, a place which you should not miss to visit.
It is very famous for its 11 rock hewn, monolithic churches, also sometimes called the 8.wonder
of the world, since nobody knows exactly why and especially how they were built.
The style of excavation is unique to Ethiopia; most of them are below ground level, not- as
‘normal’ churches above.
In 1978 Lalibela, which lies at an altitude of 2520m, was listed as a world heritage site.
Situated in the mountains of Lasta, on the western slopes of the Abune Yoseph massif, it has a
beautiful and impressive setting, with the best sun sets you can imagine.
Wild craggy mountains invite you to hike here and still used monasteries are to be found only
2,5 hours walk away from town, very rewarding with fascinating views all over the valley.
Lalibela is a medieval town and one of the greatest historical sites in the Christian world, for the
Ethiopian Christmas in January there are tens of thousands of pilgrim in town, sometimes
walking for 1 month to reach the churches.
Lalibela’s big market calls each Saturday thousands of locals from everywhere in the region,
they walk from as far as 20km away to sell their goods; it is a vivid place where you can buy
vegetables, fruits, animals, herbs, honey and traditional clothes.
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Not so long ago, Lalibela was only to be reached on gravel roads, far away from anything else, it
took days to come here, nowadays it has changed because Lalibela now has an airport with
daily flights to Addis, Gondar, Mekele, Axum and Bahir Dar.

Axum is a town of Legends offering a glimpse to a truly remarkable past. It’s littered with the
ruins of palaces, underground tombs, mysterious monolithic steals, which are the largest in the
world and carved from single piece of granite, inscriptions and many historical relics.
The legacy of the Queen of Sheba lies just below the shifting sands, and churches hewn out of
sheer rock attract wide-eyed tourists. The African nation’s historic route begins in the ancient
city of Axum, which dates to about 100 B.C. This capital city was the first place in Ethiopia to
adopt a new religion — Christianity. According to the Old Testament, The Queen of Sheba was
born in Axum, but travelled to Israel to meet King Solomon. They had a son named Menelik,
who later became the first emperor of Ethiopia. Menelik brought the original Arc of the
Covenant back to Ethiopia from Israel. Today, the Arc, which once housed the Ten
Commandments, remains well hidden in Axum. It is guarded by a select group of monks, whose
sole commitment is to protect the sacred vessel. Axum is also known for its massive, towering
sculptures that are more than two thousand years old. Their significance is still under
investigation by archaeologists.
All that remains now of Axum’s past glories are the huge granite stelae (pillars), some fallen and
some still perpendicular. Made of single blocks of granite, the tallest stood over 33 metres high
– the largest monolith in the world. The biggest now standing is 23 metres high.
All three section of the 1,700-year old Axum obelisk has arrived back in Ethiopia, 68 years after
it was looted by Italian fascists. Many Ethiopians see the obelisk as an important national
symbol – its return has been subject to great national anticipation and excitement. Seized back
in 1937 by Italian troops, it was taken to Rome where it remained, despite a 1947 UN
agreement to return it to Ethiopia. It was eventually dismantled into three pieces in 2004 in
preparation for its journey home, an operation which is costing Italy an estimated 6 million
euros ( 4.1 million). The monument is due to be re-erected after the rainy season.