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Debre Berhane Selassie

Debre Berhan Selassie an easy stroll 2km northeast of town. Despite its walls hosting the nation’s most vibrant ecclesiastical artwork, it’s the ceiling that captures most visitors’ imaginations. Think of Mona Lisa’s smile and multiply it 104 times!

Debre Berhane Selassie Debre Berhane Selassie

www.afewerktekle.com

A Dedicated Website for The World Most Honorable Maitre Artiste World Laureate IOM.CH Afewerk Tekle will be launched by StudioNet as part of its social responsibility program.

www.afewerktekle.com www.afewerktekle.com

Erta Ale, the living Shield Volcano

Erta Ale is a very remote and rarely visited shield volcano in the Afar region of East Africa.

Erta Ale, the living Shield Volcano Erta Ale, the living Shield Volcano

Mulatu Astatke

The Father of Ethio Jazz: Mulatu Astatke

Mulatu Astatke Mulatu Astatke

Churches in Ethiopia

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Churches in Ethiopia Churches in Ethiopia

Kay Kabaro: Simien jackal

The Ethiopian wolf is the rarest canid in the world (Sillero 2001), and is one of the world's rarest mammals.

Kay Kabaro: Simien jackal Kay Kabaro: Simien jackal

Beautiful Scenery of Ethiopia

Awasa , southern Ethiopia’s largest city, is 100km further south and sits on the shores of attractive Lake Awasa. With plenty of facilities, a great fish market and row boats to boot, Awasa is a great place to stop.  

Beautiful Scenery of Ethiopia Beautiful Scenery of Ethiopia

Gonder: Medieval castles of Ethiopia

The Center of Ethiopian art and culture Gondar, founded by Emperor Fasilidas around 1635, is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and decoration of its churches.

Gonder: Medieval castles of Ethiopia Gonder: Medieval castles of Ethiopia

Axum Home of the Arc

Aksum, believed to be founded in the 2nd century B.C, was once the capital city of one of the world’s four superpowers. One text is reported to have labeled Aksum as “the royal throne of the king of Zion, mother of all lands, pride of the entire universe, jewel of kings.”

 

AXUM, the site of Ethiopia's most ancient city, is today a small town, ignorant of its glorious past. The 16th century Cathedral of St. Mary of Zion is built on the site of a much older church probably resembling that of Debre Damo, dating from the 4th century AD. Only a platform and the wide stone steps remain from the earlier structure. The Cathedral is the repository of the crowns of some of Ethiopias former emperors. According to church legend, it also houses the original Ark of the Covenant - thus making St. Marys the holiest sanctuary in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia's claim to the lost Ark of the Covenant is a contentious one. Many do believe this priceless Old Testament treasure rests in Axum, exactly where the Ethiopians say it is. It seems likely, however, that the Ark arrived in Ethiopia in the late fifth century Bc, about 500 years after the time of Solomon, Sheba and Menelik, for completely different reasons from those set out in the national epic. There is some evidence that it was first installed on an island in Lake Tana where it remained for 800 years before finally being moved to Axum around the time of Ethiopia's conversion to Christianity in the fourth century AD.

The building where the Ark is said to lie is a small, unpretentious sanctuary built in 1965 on the orders of Haile Selassie. The chapel, fashioned out of blocks of gray granite, stands at the heart of Axums extensive monastic complex and is annexed to the seventeenth-century Cathedral of St Mary of Zion where the sacred relic previously rested. In line with a time-honored tradition, only one man is allowed to set eyes upon the Ark itself: an elderly, especially holy monk who is charged with its care and preservation. The present custodian, Abba Tesfa Mariam, inherited the honor - and the burden - of guarding the Ark from a long line of previous monks stretching back into the mists of history. When a custodian is dying, according to tradition he must nominate his own successor with his last words.

The Church of St Mary of Zion was built around 1635 by Emperor Fasilidas - undoubtedly one of Ethiopias greatest rulers. Still a place of active worship, it is notable for its crenellated, fortress-like walls. Its hushed interior, resplendent with many beautiful murals and paintings, evokes a mood of contemplation in an atmosphere of immense antiquity. This may have something to do with the fact that many of the stone blocks from which it is built predate the seventeenth century. They come from an extensive ruin that stands nearby. Only the ruins of its deeply entrenched foundations remain - all that is left of the original St Mary of Zion, built in the fourth century at the time of the conversion of the Axumite kingdom to Christianity. Twelve hundred years later, in the middle of the sixteenth century, it was razed by a fanatical Muslim invader, Ahmed Gragn - The Left Handed -. whose forces swept across the Horn of Africa from Harar in the east and, at one time, threatened the complete extinction of Ethiopian Christendom.

By far the oldest church in Africa south of the Sahara, the first St Marys - as it is still referred to in Axum - was described some years before its destruction by the Portuguese friar Francisco Alvarez: In this town Axum, we found a noble church; it is very large, and has five naves of a good width and of a great length, vaulted above, and all the vaults are covered up, and the ceiling and sides are all painted; it also has a choir after our fashion. This church has a very large circuit, paved with flagstones, like gravestones, and it has also a large enclosure, and is surrounded by another large enclosure like the wall of a large town or city

From Alvarez account, it is apparent that the first St Mary of Zion church was a great five-aisled basilica. Aspects of its design are thought to have been borrowed from earlier, pre- Christian places of worship in Axum. In turn, these were later incorporated into the nearby cliff top monastery of Debra Damo - built in the sixth century and still standing. Experts believe St Marys also served as the model for Beta Medhane Alem - the most extensive and ambitious of the twelfth- century monoliths in far-off Lalibela. They also believe it inspired another of the spectacular rock-hewn churches of that area - Beta Ghenetta Mariam - which stands in mountainous countryside some kilometers from Lalibela.

 

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