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October 7, 2015

9 Days: Ethiopian Meskel festival

Written By Admin


It is celebrated by dancing, feasting and lighting a massive bonfire known in Ethiopian tradition as “Damera”. Meskel commemorates the finding of the True Cross in the fourth century when Empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, discovered the True Cross on which Christ was crucified. The feast is celebrated in Ethiopia on September 28 Gregorian calendar. The celebration of Meskel signifies the presence of the True Cross at mountain of Gishen Mariam monastery and also symbolizes the events carried out by Empress Helena.

According to tradition, Empress Helena lit incense and prayed for assistance to guide her. The smoke drifted towards the direction of the buried cross. She dug and found three crosses; one of them was the True Cross used to crucify Jesus Christ. Empress Helena then gave a piece of the True Cross to all churches, including the Ethiopian Church. This piece was then brought to Ethiopia.

September 20th 2012: Arrive in Addis Ababa, be met by 2020 Team and transfers to your Hotel.

Overnight Hotel

September 21st 2012: Fly  Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar:

After breakfast fly to Bahar Dar. After check into the Hotel and refreshment, we take a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit ancient monasteries. We will visit two of the most accessible and representative of the monasteries, still serving their original function, Ura Kidane Mehret, and Azwa Maryam. In the afternoon we pay a visit to the impressive Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tis Isat or ‘Smoke of Fire’.

Overnight Hotel

September 22nd 2012:  Drive to Gondar:

We drive from Bahir Dar to Gondar – 180 kms over wide grazing land, hilly mountains with numerous green farmlands. On reaching we visit the attractions in Gondar. The attractions that we visit in Gondar includes: Castles of Gondar –  included in the World Heritage List. The Royal Fasiledes Bath and the Church of Debre Berhan Selassie with its unique murals.

Overnight Hotel

September 23rd 2012: Excursion to Simien Mountains

After breakfast excursion drive to Semien Mountains National Park.  In the breathtaking Semien Mountains most of the country’s endemic animals are found.  Semien Mountains.  UNESCO’s world heritage is one of the most beautiful stretches of unspoiled wilderness surviving in the world today.

Overnight Hotel

September 24th 2012: Fly Gondar to Lalibela

After breakfast transfer to Gondar Airport to fly for Lalibela, the site of the world wonder. Today we visit the footstep of mount Asheten (over 3000 meters high), the 13th century built-up-cave church of Na’akutola’ab. After lunch, you visit the first group of the remarkably excavated churches of Lalibela.

Overnight Hotel

September 25th 2012: In Lalibela

After breakfast a mule ride to the 13thc rock hewn monastery of Asheten Mariam. The church is situated on  top of a mountain at an altitude of 3150 meters. We return back to the town for lunch. In the afternoon, visit  the other groups of Rock churches of Lalibela Bet Giyorgis, possibly the most elegant of all the Lalibela churches, lies somewhat isolated in the southwest part of the village on a sloping rock terrace. It can only be reached through a tunnel. The group of four, south of the Jordan River, comprise of Bet Emanuel, Bet Mercurios, Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Gabriel-Rufael. Bet Emanuel’s elaborate exterior is much praised by art historians.

Overnight Hotel

September 26th 2012: Fly Lalibela to Axum.

After breakfast transfer to the airport for a short flight to Axum. On arrival in Axum you will be transferred to Hotel. After refreshment visit the historical and archaeological sites in Axum including: The archaeological museum, The magnificent monolithic steles or obelisks, the tombs of King Kaleb and King Gebre Meskal, and the legendary Bath of the Queen of Sheba, and the ruins of ancient palace of Queen Sheba. The 16th Century Cathedral of St Mary of Zion was probably built on an earlier 4th century church, and is the holiest church in Ethiopia. In its sanctuary is said to rest the original Ark of the Covenant.

Overnight Hotel

September 27th 2012: Fly Axum to Addis Ababa:

After breakfast transfer to Axum Airport and fly to Addis Ababa.  The rest of the day visit historical sites in Addis Ababa including the National Archaeological Museum, where we will view the 3.6 million year old remains of “Lucy”, whose skeletal remains were discovered in 1974. You will also visit the Ethnological Museum at Addis Ababa University, Holy Trinity Cathedrals and Mount Entoto which rises up to an altitude of 3200 meters and offers the panoramic view of the metropolis. Shopping in Merkato – the largest open market in Africa.

Overnight Hotel

September 28th 2012: Attend the Meskel Festival.

Have a relaxing breakfast, and explore the city life. In the afternoon attend the Meskel Festival at Meskel square – the colorful festival of the Orthodox Christians, celebrated to commemorate the finding of the true cross. Evening a fare well diner party in one of the Traditional Ethiopian restaurant with dances from the different ethnic Groups. Then after transfer to the airport for departure back to home or onward connection.



(Where Applicable)

  • All accommodation
  • Meals on B&B basis
  • All entrance fees
  • All Ground transfers and transportation with a very good condition vehicles including fuel.
  • Professional English speaking regional guides
  • Boat trip on Lake Tana to visit two of the accessible monasteries
  • 15% Government tax  and service  charge

Not Included 

  • International  flights and Domestic Flight
  • Lunch and dinner
  • Photographing/Video fees
  • Any kind of drinks both Alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages.
  • Laundry, Incidental meals, snacks and drinks, tips and items of personal nature


2 PAX — Per Person – 2,621.00

4 PAX — Per Person – 2,213.00

6 PAX — Per Person – 1,958.00

Additional Info
Country: Ethiopia
Region: select
City: Addis Ababa
Address: Addis Ababa
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