Best things to do in Ethiopia
Find out more about those top places in Ethiopia
Formerly known as Abyssinia, Ethiopia is one of Africa’s oldest countries and it prides itself as one of the few African countries that was never colonized. Its capital city is the beautiful Addis Ababa founded by Emperor Menelik II at the base of the Mount Entoto after his journey from Ankobar.
Named Addis Ababa which means “New Flower” by the Emperor’s wife Taitu, the city really lives up to its name – with impressive landmarks, astounding architecture and exciting festivals. A trip to Africa’s Diplomatic Capital is highly encouraged.
The historic Lion of Judah Monument is a symbol of past and present Ethiopia - the glided bronze sculpture sits on a black granite pedestal decorated with the relief portraits of Ras Makonnen, Menelik II, Zewditu and Haile Selassie. Erected on November 2, 1930, during the coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie, the Lion of Judah Monument was made and designed by French Sculptor Georges Gardet. During the second Italo-Ethiopian War, the monument was looted by the Italian army and sent to Rome until the 1960s when it was returned to its original site after negotiations between both countries.
Established in 2010 to commemorate one of the saddest periods of Ethiopian’s history - the Memorial Museum was set up for the victims of the “Red Terror” under the Derg government. With each exhibition room perfectly laid out, the museum arranged chronologically from the fall of the Emperor Haile Selassie to the rise and horrors of the Derg Regime that included the death of over 700,000 people. Some items displayed at the museum include belongings of the victims, skulls and torture instruments.
Timkat is the most popular celebration in Ethiopia, the annual feast holds on January 19th (if it is a leap year then it holds on the 20th) which is the 10th day of Terr according to the Ethiopian Calendar. Dedicated to St. Michael, it involves the local priest parading the “Tabot” (a replica of the Ark of the Covenant) around the city with a choir singing behind him. The Tabot is taken to a pool of water, where the priest engaged in prayer till the next morning, after which the re-enactment of the baptism of Jesus is performed by worshipers. It is concluded with a large feast.
Located North of Addis Ababa, the mountains of Entoto are one of the most significant areas of Ethiopia’s history. The popular hiking site has its peak at 3,200 metres above sea level at the Mount Entoto – where according to Ethiopian history was where Emperor Menelik II founded Addis Ababa after coming from Ankobar. Covered with eucalyptus trees the mountains provides a good challenge to hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Before setting foot on Addis Ababa, you must have heard about the coffee ceremony. Said to have begun from Ethiopia it is more than just a regular exercise, it represents the country’s communal lifestyle and hospitality. Usually performed by the highest ranking woman of the household, the process of making the coffee involves quite a number of traditional methods before being served.