Historical Tour of Ethiopia & Meskel Festival | Palace Travel

Historical Tour of Ethiopia & Meskel Festival

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Historical Tour of Ethiopia & Meskel Festival

Ethiopia (Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Lalibela, Meskel Festival)

Join us on this Historical Tour of Ethiopia scheduled to include the 2019 Meskel Festival. Explore the fascinating history of Ethiopia with visits to ancient cities, picturesque hinterlands and UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. The main Meskel celebration includes the burning of a large bonfire, the Demera, in Meskel Square in Addis Ababa. This tradition is based on the revelation by the mother of the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, which revealed the exact location of the True Cross. The ancient festival dates back 1,600 years and is celebrated with huge, evening bonfires with large, orderly but noisy torch-carrying throngs of participants accompanied by ornately robed priests carrying silver Coptic crosses. The flowering of the cross-shaped Meskel daisies also marks the end of the 3-month long rainy season and the return of the sun. This is a once in a lifetime experience that should not be missed!

Day 1:  DEPART USA

In- flight

Day 2: ADDIS ABABA/ BAHIR DAR

Arrive Addis, transfer to Bahir Dar, meet assist and transfer to hotel. This afternoon attend a welcome lunch at a local restaurant in Bahir Dar; including an orientation session on the culture and traditions off Ethiopia plus performances of traditional music and dance from the different regions of Ethiopia.
Meal(s) Included: Dinner
Hotel: Kurifti Resort

Day 3:  BAHIR DAR

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Full day tour of Bahir Dar visit the Blue Nile Falls, about 30 km from Bahir Dar Africa’s second largest waterfalls;  where the Blue Nile Falls the main source of the Nile River joins  the Mediterranean Sea. After lunch, go on a tour of Bahir Dar, including the market and a visit of the Palace of the late Emperor Haile Selassie at Bezawite.
Meal(s) Included: Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel: Kurifti Resort

Day 5:  LALIBELA

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Fly to Lalibela. At the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries, King Lalibela of the Zaghwe dynasty built a series of rock hewn churches, now rightly acknowledged as one of the wonders of the world. Even from the air, the churches, carved into the rugged mountainsides, are a breathtaking spectacle. There are 11 churches in the town named after him, with others in the surrounding countryside. All are still in use. Go on a tour of the first group of churches, and continue the tour in the afternoon. It is estimated that it took 25 years to construct the churches. For the kingdom to have kept a large work force engaged in economically unproductive labor for such a period means it was very wealthy. The area was fertile and agriculturally productive then, whereas deforestation and ecological degradation have since made it barren.
Meal(s) Included: Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel: Moutainview Hotel

Day 6:  LALIBELA

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Visit the church of Ashetun Mariam by mule – or on foot. There are wonderful views of the surrounding countryside from its mountaintop location. Alternatively you may visit the cave church of Neakuto Leab. 40 km from Lalibela is the beautiful cave church of Yemrehane Kristos, much finer than that of Neakuto Leab.
Meal(s) Included: Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel: Moutainview Hotel

Day 7: LALIBELA/ADDIS ABABA /MESKEL  FESTIVAL EVE

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Transfer to the airport for the flight to Addis Ababa, meet assist and transfer to hotel.  Afternoon at leisure plus an early dinner in preparation for the The Meskel Festival activities ( Demera )the Orthodox church commemorates the burning of the very cross on which Jesus Christ of Nazareth was crucified in Golgotha in the fourth century by Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine. The celebration of Meskel recognizes the presence of the true cross at the Mountain of Gishen Miriam monastery in Ethiopia, and also recognizes Empress Helena’s road to finding it. After a mass, song and prayer there will be a bonfire set on a cross tied with yellow daisies performed by the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Within Entoto’s old Imperial Compound, you will visit the churches of Mariam and the Archangel Raguel. Afterwards, stop at the National Archaeological Museum where exhibits include the 3.5 million-year-old bones of ‘Lucy’.This evening join thousands of people at the Meskel Square for the The Meskel Festival eve activities to commemorate the finding of the very cross on which Jesus Christ of Nazareth was crucified in Golgotha in the fourth century by Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine. The celebration recognizes the presence of the true cross at the Mountain of Gishen Miriam monastery in Ethiopia, and also recognizes Empress Helena’s road to finding it. After a mass song and prayer there will be a big bon fire for the commemoration of the Meskel festival.
Meal(s) Included: Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel: Hilton Hotel

Day 8:  ADDIS ABABA/MESKEL DAY – GROUP DISCUSSION

Observe Meskel day by going to the spot of the (Demera) burning of the cross (the ash is used for marking the forehead with a cross sign)   plus a feast at a local restaurant and a group discussion on the experience of the trip – evening at leisure
Meal(s) Included: Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel: Hilton Hotel

Day 9: ADDIS ABABA/DEPART

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Visit the National Archaeological Museum where exhibits include the 3.5 million-year-old bones of ‘Lucy’ are displayed and The Merkato, Africa’s biggest market. The market is known for its marvelous Ethiopian jewellery, exquisite clothing and fabrics – made locally – local music and much more.  Last minute packing, farewell dinner transfer to airport for 10pm flight back home.
Meal(s) Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 10: ARRIVE HOME WITH PLEASANT MEMORIES-

TOUR PRICE INCLUDES

  • Meeting and assistance upon arrival and departure
  • International flight from Dulles – Washington
  • Domestic flights within  Ethiopia
  • Meals indicated
  • Airport/Hotel transfers
  • Accommodation listed properties
  • Tours in private vehicles
  • Experienced English speaking  tour guides
  • Admissions to all listed sites
  • Luggage handling

TOUR PRICE DOESN'T INCLUDE

  • Travel insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Gratuities to drivers and guides
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