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Day 1 - Washington DC
Depart Washington Dulles International on morning flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia./p>
Day 2 - Addis Ababa
Arrive to Addis Ababa in morning. Check into hotel in Addis Ababa, a name which means “new
flower.” The city was founded in 1886 by Emperor Menelik II and his consort Queen Taytu. Addis Ababa is the continent's
diplomatic capital with over seventy embassies and consular offices and the headquarters of the United Nations Economic
Commission for Africa. It is a lively city rich with beauty and culture. Begin our tour with a drive up to Mount Entoto. The
panorama from the peak is breathtaking. Enjoy a visit to Trinity Cathedral, the largest and most revered of all the churches.
Visit the Ethnological Museum, an ideal place to start learning about Ethiopia's rich ethnic diversity. The museum has an
impressive array of religious crosses, triptychs and murals, as well as Haile Selassie's bedroom and bathroom. Dinner and
overnight in Addis Ababa.
Day 3 - Addis Ababa/Bahir Dar
This morning fly to Bahir Dar, a pleasant city located on the shores of Lake Tana, the
largest lake in Ethiopia. There are 37 islands on Lake Tana and 30 of them have churches and monasteries of considerable
historical and cultural interest. Upon arrival in Bahir Dar, check in to hotel. Then enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit
the 13th century Monastery of Ura Kidane Mihret, the most famous of the Zege peninsula monasteries with a very beautiful painted
maqdas. Later in the day, embark on a city tour of Bahir Dar, visiting the market, the palace of Emperor Haile Selassie (view
point only—as it is not permitted to enter), Weyto Villages and the deacon school at Trinity. Dinner and overnight in Bahir Dar.
Day 4 - Bahir Dar/Gondar
In the morning fly to Gondar. Upon arrival, check into hotel. Gondar was the first capital
of the Ethiopian Empire, which began in 1632 with the reign of Fasilidas. Gondar is referred to as the Camelot of Africa. In
Gondar, there are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. Visit the royal enclosure containing
six castles, a complex network of connecting tunnels, raisedwalkways and several smaller buildings. Take a tour of the bathing
palace of King Fasilidas. Later, proceed to the fascinating Debre Birhan Selassie Church with its walls and ceilings decorated
with scenes of Biblical lore and medieval history. Dinner and overnight in Gondar.
Day 5 - Gondar/Lalibella
Fly to Lalibela, described as the eighth wonder of the world, for two days of touring what is
considered to be one of the holiest cities in Ethiopia. Lalibela, with its beautiful rock hewn churches, is on the UNESCO's list
of World Heritage sites. Start our exploration with the twelve majestic rock-hewn churches. Begin with the breathtaking Bette
Giorgis church, carved in the shape of a cross and set apart from the other church groupings. Other churches include Bete
Medhane Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Maskal, Bete Danaghel, Bete Golgotha and Bete Mikael. Dinner and overnight in Lalibela.
Day 6 - Lalibela
Today we will visit the church of Yimrhane Kristos. This exquisite church, a masterpiece of
Axumit wood and stone construction is renowned for its interior decoration, its beautiful wooden coffer ceiling inlaid with
hexagons and medallions with both figurative and geometric motifs. Drive back to Lalibela. In the afternoon, we will visit the
remaining rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.
Day 7 - Lalibela/Axum
We will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Axum. Once the center of a great
empire, and the seat of learning for the ancient Ge'ez language and literature, Axum is the prime historical site in the North
of Ethiopia. Take the city tour of Axum that includes: the Stelae Park, St. Mary's Church, the Sanctuary Chapel which is the
repository of the ‘Ark of the Covenant, the Coronation Yard, Queen of Sheba's palace ruins, Axum Museum to view its impressive
array of regional art crafts—some dating back more than 2,000 years, and the quarry where the stelaes used to be made. Today we
will attend a service with our local brothers and sisters. Dinner and overnight in Axum.
Day 8 - Axum/Addis Ababa
Take the return flight to Addis Ababa. Enjoy day at leisure. This will be our opportunity to
go back to the market to shop, or visit the United Nations Conference Center on our own. In the evening, enjoy a “farewell
dinner” where we will taste various national dishes, and watch dances of various ethnic groups of Ethiopia. A traditional coffee
ceremony will also be served. We will then be transferred to the airport for our flight home.
Day 9 - Washington DC
Today our journey ends with memories that will last us forever. Arrival in the USA the same day.