Ethiopian Timket (Ethiopian Epiphany) Festival - January 19, 2014

Ethiopian Timket (Ethiopian Epiphany) Festival - January 19, 2013

Timket is the greatest festival of orthodox Christians in Ethiopia. Falling on the 19 of January (or the 20 of January once in every four years), it celebrates the baptism of Christ in the river Jordan by John the Baptist. It's a three-day affair and all the ceremonies are conducted with great pomp. The eve of Timket (18 January) is called Ketera. On this day the tabots of each church are carried out in procession to a place near a river where the next day's celebration will take place. A special tent is set up for each tabot, each hosting a proud manner depicting the church's saint. The ceremony is accompanied by hymns and dances of the priests, drum beating, bell ringing and blowing of trumpets.

A tabot is a replica of the Arc of the Covenant and the ten tablets of the law which Moses received on Mount Sinai. It is the tabot rather than the church building, which is consecrated, and it is accorded extreme relevance.The priests pray throughout the night and mass is performed around 2 AM. Processional crosses of varying size and elaboration as well as various Ethiopian artifacts can be seen on the occasion. When the tabot is carried out, it is wrapped in brocade or velvet and carried on the head of a priest with colorful ceremonial umbrellas to shade it.

We offer Timket holidays of all destinations for groups and individuals of all size.

  • Timket Celebration in Addis
  • Timket Celebration in Lalibela
  • Timket Celebration in Gondar
  • Timket and Omo Valley

Program: Ethiopia Timket Festival in Addis Ababa with the Historic Route of Ethiopia 10 days and 09 Nights
Tour Code: AETT - F004
Duration: 10 Days and 09 Nights 
Transport: Surface and Flight

Activities: colorful festivals, ancient history, people, age-old culture, breathtaking highland scenery, waterfalls, castles, rock churches, & much more

Day 1, Jan 18, 2014:

Arrive in Addis Ababa a warm welcome at the airport, and then transfer to your hotel. Morning will be free. Afternoon, start your sightseeing tour of Addis Ababa, starting your tour from the Trinity Cathedral, visit to the National Museum (archaeological and historical), which has the best collection of Ethiopian antiquities and archeological discoveries, including the famous oldest hominid “Lucy”; then drive up to Mt. Entoto, the highest part of the capital, where you will have a panoramic view over the town of Addis Ababa; a drive down to the biggest open air market in East Africa called Mercato. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 2, Jan 19, 2014:

morning mausoleum of Menlilk the II at the church of Beata Mariam, then drive to Ethnographic museum in the courtyard of Addis Ababa university, then drive back your hotel, afternoon walk to the one of the Ethiopian orthodox churches where you will bump into huge street festival of the Ethiopian Orthodox church, Timket is celebrated in Ethiopia on January 11th on the Ethiopian calendar (January 19 on the Gregorian calendar). On this day, in the morning, people go to nearby churches for prayers, and in the afternoon, replicas of the Arc of the covenant are taken out of every church, accompanied by the priests, deacon, singers of the church, as well as ordinary people to the place where the baptism ceremony is held. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 3, Jan 20, 2014:

Early in the morning drive to Jalmeda where The Arc of the covenants will stay for overnight, Early in the morning there will be a baptism ceremony after the blessing the head of the churches, then the Arc of covenants will be back to the churches to which they belongs and the members will accompany the Arc with song and different worships. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 4, Jan 21, 2014:

Around 05:00 hrs, drive to the airport to fly to Bahir Dar. Arrive at Bahir Dar after a 55 minutes’ flight. Drive to Hotel for check-in. Drive to Tisissat (45 minutes) to get to the water fall, which is 35km away from Bahir Dar. At Tisissat, you get a chance to see the “smoke of the Nile” from the usual vantage points. Board on boat to cross Lake Tana. En route, you will visit the churches of UraKidanemihret, Mehal Zege Georgis and Aswa Mariam Late in the afternoon, you will arrive in back Bahir Dar- at around 17:00 hrs- you might get a chance to see the very stunning sun-set from the boat. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 5, Jan 22, 2014:

Morning transfer to airport to Fly to Gonder, transfer to Hotel. Start visiting the 17th century capital of Ethiopia: Gonder. Sites to visit include: the castle compound (UNESCO World Heritage Site), King Fasiledes’ Bath, the Debre Birhan Selassie (The light of Trinity) church with wonderful murals, Qusqam church and Mentwab palace. Later, drive to the Jewish village called Welaka, 6Km away from Gonder. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 6, Jan 23, 2014:

Early in the morning, drive to the airport to fly to Lallibela in the morning and then transfer from the airport to your hotel. The airport is 26 Km from the hotel- it will be a half-an-hour drive. After check-in, start visiting the rock hewn churches of Lallibela. Today you will tour the first group of churches (the grouping is according to their geographical location): Bete Medhane Alem, Bete Mariam and Bete Meskel. Return to your hotel for lunch at 12:30 AM, and continue touring the rest of the first group of churches after 14:00 AM. Return to your hotel at 17:30 AM. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 7, Jan 24, 2014:

Early in the morning make a mule excursion to Asheten Mariam church, where you will the semi-monolithic church which was hewed out by the nephew of King Lalibella, then back to Hotel for lunch afternoon visit the remaining churches in Lalibella by the 2nd group of the rock hewn churches of Lallibela: Bete Emanuel, Bete Rafael and Gabriel, Bete Mercury’s and Aba Libanos. Continue your tour from the stunning Bete Giorgis, which was hewed out with the Greek cross, and then walk back to your Hotel. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 8, Jan 25, 2014:

Morning, transfer to the airport to fly to Axum and then transfer to your hotel, which is 10 minutes drive from the airport. Sightseeing in Axum, a town steeped in more than 2500 years of history, from the palace and tomb of King Kaleb (6th C, AD). You will also visit the extraordinary Stella’s records as a world heritage site (WHS) and the tomb of king Remhay (1st to 4th C, AD). Visit the church of St Mary of Tsion (17th C, AD), in which is deposited the Arc of the Covenant. Return to your hotel for lunch. Drive out of the town to, 4 Km away, where you will walk up to see the rock-carved lion and palace from where the Stella's were hewn- some still lie there, unfinished one too. From here we can visit the palace of the queen of Sheba, and other archaeological sites. The day’s wandering ends at the small but amazing museum. Return. Dinner and overnight will be at Hotel. 

Day 9, Jan 26, 2014:

Morning, drive to the airport to fly to Addis Ababa, arriving at a hotel in Addis at 4:30. Lunch will be Addis Ababa, and the rest of the afternoon will be freely spent at the hotel. In the evening at 19:30, meet in the lobby and then drive to the traditional restaurant, where you will enjoy traditional Ethiopian music performances at your fare well dinner. Overnight Hotel. In the evening transfer to the air port for departure to home.

Day 10, Jan 27, 2014:

Transfer out to airport to fly back to Home.

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Program: Ethiopia Timket Festival in Lalibela with the Historic Route of Ethiopia 10 days and 09 Nights
Tour Code: AETT - F005
Duration: 10 Days and 09 Nights 
Transport: Flight

Activities: colorful festivals, ancient history, people, age-old culture, breathtaking highland scenery, waterfalls, castles, rock churches, & much more

Day 1, Jan 14, 2014:

Arrive in Addis Ababa a warm welcome at the airport, and then transfer to your hotel. Morning will be free. Afternoon, start your sightseeing tour of Addis Ababa, starting your tour from the Trinity Cathedral, visit to the National Museum (archaeological and historical), which has the best collection of Ethiopian antiquities and archeological discoveries, including the famous oldest hominid “Lucy”; then drive up to Mt. Entoto, the highest part of the capital, where you will have a panoramic view over the town of Addis Ababa; a drive down to the biggest open air market in East Africa called Mercato. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 2, Jan 15,  2014:

Morning, drive to the airport to fly to Bahir Dar. Arrive at Bahir Dar after a 55 minutes’ flight. Drive to Hotel for check-in. Drive to Tisissat (45 minutes) to get to the water fall, which is 35km away from Bahir Dar. At Tisissat, you get a chance to see the “smoke of the Nile” from the usual vantage points. Board on boat to cross Lake Tana. En route, you will visit the churches of UraKidanemihret, Mehal Zege Georgis and Aswa Marim Late in the afternoon, you will arrive in back Bahir Dar- at around 17:00 hrs- you might get a chance to see the very stunning sun-set from the boat. Overnight and dinner at Hotel. 

Day 3, Jan 16, 2014:

Morning transfer to airport to Fly to Gonder, transfer to Hotel. Start visiting the 17th century capital of Ethiopia: Gonder. Sites to visit include: the castle compound (UNESCO World Heritage Site), King Fasiledes’ Bath, the Debre Birhan Selassie (The light of Trinity) church with wonderful murals, Qusqam church and Mentwab palace. Later, drive to the Jewish village called Welaka, 6Km away from Gonder. Overnight will be at Hotel. 

Day 4, Jan 17,  2014:

Make a day Excursion to Semin Mountain, Drive to Debark in the morning, 100Kms from Gonder, the Headquarter of the Semien Mountains National Park. Proceed to Sankaber, 37Kms farther, which is your first trekking starting spot, 3250 ms above sea level. Spend the day trekking around the camp sites. Lunch will be served by lunch boxes on top of the view point; here you will see some endemic Ethiopian Birds like wattle Ibis, and some mammals like the Gelada Baboon. Around 15:00hrs, you will drive back to Gonder. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 5, Jan 18, 2014:

Morning, drive to the airport to fly to Lalibella in the morning and then transfer from the airport to your hotel. The airport is 26 Km from the hotel- it will be a half-an-hour drive. After check-in, start visiting the rock hewn churches of Lalibella. Today you will be the first group of churches (the grouping is according to their geographical location): Bete Medhane Alem, Bete Mariam and Bete Meskel. Return to your hotel for lunch at 12:30 AM, and continue touring the rest of the first group of churches after 14:00 AM. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 6, Jan 19, 2014:

Morning visit the remaining churches in Lalibella by the 2nd group of the rock hewn churches of Lalibella: Bete Emanuel, Bete Rafael and Gabriel, Bete Mercury’s and Aba Libanos. Continue your tour from the stunning Bete Giorgis, which was hewed out with the Greek cross, and then walk back to your Hotel, Timket is celebrated in Ethiopia on January 11th on the Ethiopian calendar (January 19 on the Gregorian calendar). On this day, in the morning, people go to nearby churches for prayers, and in the afternoon, replicas of the Arc of the covenant are taken out of every church, accompanied by the priests, deacon, singers of the church, as well as ordinary people to the place where the baptism ceremony is held. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 7, Jan 20, 2014:

Early in the morning you will go the place where The Arc of the covenants will stay for overnight, Early in the morning there will be a baptism ceremony after the blessing the head of the churches, then the Arc of covenants will be back to the churches to which they belong and the members will accompany the Arc with song and different worships. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 8, Jan 21, 2014:

Morning, transfer to the airport to fly to Axum and then transfer to your hotel, which is 10 minutes drive from the airport. Sightseeing in Axum, a town steeped in more than 2500 years of history, from the palace and tomb of King Kaleb (6th C, AD). You will also visit the extraordinary Stella’s records as a world heritage site (WHS) and the tomb of king Remhay (1st to 4th C, AD). Visit the church of St Mary of Tsion (17th C, AD), in which is deposited the Arc of the Covenant. Return to your hotel for lunch. Drive out of the town to Gonder, 4 Km away, where you will walk up to see the rock-carved lion and palace from where the Stella's were hewn- some still lay there, unfinished one too. From here we can visit the palace of the queen of Sheba, and other archaeological sites. The day’s wandering ends at the small but amazing museum. Return. Dinner and overnight will be at Hotel. 

Day 9, Jan 22, 2014:

Morning, drive to the airport to fly to Addis Ababa, arriving at a hotel in Addis at 4:30. Lunch will be Addis Ababa, and the rest of the afternoon will be freely spent at the hotel. In the evening at 19:30, meet in the lobby and then drive to the traditional restaurant, where you will enjoy traditional Ethiopian music performances at your fare well dinner. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 10, Jan 23, 2014:

Full day tour of Addis Ababa, morning mausoleum of Menililik the II at the church of Beata Mariam, then drive to Ethnographic museum in the courtyard of Addis Ababa university, then drive back your hotel or have lunch en the route, afternoon visit the ECA Economic commission for Africa, for its wonderful painting on the reception hall. Then make some shopping. Evening transfer out to airport to fly back to Home.

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Program: Ethiopia Timket Festival in Gondar with the Historic Route of Ethiopia 09 days and 08 Nights
Tour Code: AETT - F006
Duration: 09 Days and 08 Nights 
Transport: Flight

Activities: colorful festivals, ancient history, people, age-old culture, breathtaking highland scenery, waterfalls, castles, rock churches, & much more

Day 1, Jan 17, 2014:

Arrive in Addis Ababa a warm welcome at the airport, and then transfer to your hotel. Morning will be free. Afternoon, start your sightseeing tour of Addis Ababa, starting your tour from the Trinity Cathedral, visit to the National Museum (archaeological and historical), which has the best collection of Ethiopian antiquities and archeological discoveries, including the famous oldest hominid “Lucy”; then drive up to Mt. Entoto, the highest part of the capital, where you will have a panoramic view over the town of Addis Ababa; a drive down to the biggest open air market in East Africa called Mercato. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 2, Jan 18, 2014:

Morning, drive to the airport to fly to Bahir Dar. Arrive at Bahir Dar after a 55 minutes’ flight. Drive to Hotel for check-in. drive to Tisissat (45 minutes) to get to the water fall, which is 35km away from Bahir Dar. At Tisissat, you get a chance to see the “smoke of the Nile” from the usual vantage points. Board on boat to cross Lake Tana. En route, you will visit the churches of UraKidanemihret, Mehal Zege Georgis and Aswa Marim Late in the afternoon, you will arrive in back Bahir Dar- at around 17:00 hrs- you might get a chance to see the very stunning sun-set from the boat. Overnight and dinner at Hotel. 

Day 3, Jan 19, 2014:

Morning transfer to airport to Fly to Gonder, transfer to Hotel. Start visiting the 17th century capital of Ethiopia: Gonder. Sites to visit include: the castle compound (UNESCO World Heritage Site), King Fasiledes’ Bath, back to Hotel for lunch Afternoon, Timket is celebrated in Ethiopia on January 11th on the Ethiopian calendar (January 19 on the Gregorian calendar). On this day, in the morning, people go to nearby churches for prayers, and in the afternoon, replicas of the Arc of the covenant are taken out of every church, accompanied by the priests, deacon, singers of the church, as well as ordinary people to the place where the baptism ceremony is held. In Gonder this colorful celebration will be held at the Bath of Fasildes. Overnight will be at Hotel. 

Day 4, Jan 20, 2014:

Early in the morning you will go the place where The Arc of the covenants will stay for overnight, Early in the morning there will be a baptism ceremony after the blessing the head of the churches, then the Arc of covenants will be back to the churches to which they belong and the members will accompany the Arc with song and different worships, afternoon visit the Debre Birhan Selassie (The light of Trinity) church with wonderful murals, Qusqam church and Mentwab palace. Later, drive to the Jewish village called Welaka, 6Km away from Gonder. Overnight will be at Hotel. 

Day 5, Jan 21, 2014:

Early in the morning drives to the airport to fly to Lalibella in the morning and then transfer from the airport to your hotel. The airport is 26 Km from the hotel- it will be a half-an-hour drive. After check-in, start visiting the rock hewn churches of Lalibella. Today you will be the first group of churches (the grouping is according to their geographical location): Bete Medhane Alem, Bete Mariam and Bete Meskel. Return to your hotel for lunch at 12:30 AM, and continue touring the rest of the first group of churches after 14:00 AM. Overnight will be at  Hotel. 

Day 6, Jan 22, 2014:

Early in the morning make a mule excursion to Asheten Mariam church, where you will the semi-monolithic church which was hewed out by the nephew of King Lalibella, then back to Hotel for lunch afternoon, for lunch afternoon visit the remaining churches in Lalibella by the 2nd group of the rock hewn churches of Lalibella: Bete Emanuel, Bete Rafael and Gabriel, Bete Mercury’s and Aba Libanos. continue your tour from the stunning Bete Giorgis, which was hewed out with the Greek cross, then walk back to your Hotel. Overnight will be at Hotel. 

Day 7, Jan 23, 2014:

Morning, transfer to the airport to fly to Axum and then transfer to your hotel, which is 10 minutes drive from the airport. Sightseeing in Axum, a town steeped in more than 2500 years of history, from the palace and tomb of King Kaleb (6th C, AD). You will also visit the extraordinary Stella’s records as a world heritage site (WHS) and the tomb of king Remhay (1st to 4th C, AD). Visit the church of St Mary of Tsion (17th C, AD), in which is deposited the Arc of the Covenant. Return to your hotel for lunch. Drive out of the town to Gonder, 4 Km away, where you will walk up to see the rock-carved lion and palace from where the Stella's were hewn- some still lie there, unfinished one too. From here we can visit the palace of the queen of Sheba, and other archaeological sites. The day’s wandering ends at the small but amazing museum. Return. Dinner and overnight will be at Hotel. 

Day 8, Jan 24, 2014:

Morning, drive to the airport to fly to Addis Ababa, arriving at a hotel in Addis. Lunch will be Addis Ababa, and the rest of the afternoon will be freely spent at the hotel. In the evening at 19:30, meet in the lobby and then drive to the traditional restaurant, where you will enjoy traditional Ethiopian music performances at your fare well dinner. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 9, Jan 25, 2014:

Full day tour of Addis Ababa, morning mausoleum of Menlilik the II at the church of Beata Mariam, then drive to Ethnographic museum in the courtyard of Addis Ababa university, then drive back your hotel or have lunch en the route, afternoon visit the ECA Economic commission for Africa, for its wonderful painting on the reception hall. Then make some shopping. Evening transfer out to airport to Fly back to Home.

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Program: Ethiopia Omo Valley, Historic Route and Timket Festival  17 days and 16 Nights
Tour Code: AETT - F007
Duration: 09 Days and 08 Nights 
Transport: Flight

Activities: colorful festivals, ancient history, people, age-old culture, breathtaking highland scenery, waterfalls, castles, rock churches, Alaba village, Chencha village, Tsemay, Bena and the Ari ethnic groups, National parks,Mursi village, Tsemay ethnic group, Dassenech ethnic group, hamer villages in Turmi , nature, culture, breathtaking scenery & much more

Day 1 January 6, 2014 – ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA

Arrive Addis Ababa; meet assist and transfer to Hotel. Overnight Hotel

Day 2 January 7, 2014 – ADDIS ABABA to ARBA MINCH

After breakfast drive to Arba Minch which is Amharic for ‘Forty Springs’. On the way, stop at the Melka Kunture archaeological site and Tiya heritage sites to view the stone sculptures believed to be ancient grave markers. Stop for lunch at a local restaurant in Butajira. Drive through the villages of the Guraghe, Kambata, and Wolayita and arrive Arbaminch in the evening. Enjoy an amazing view of Lake Abay and Chamo. Overnight Hotel

Day 3 January 8, 2014 – ARBA MINCH

After breakfast, visit the Dorze tribe, known for their beehive shaped houses and weaving skills. Weaving is a primary profession for many Dorze. They are also farmers, who prevent soil erosion by ingenious terracing of the mountainsides. They have little gardens around their huts with vegetables, spices, tobacco and Enset(false-bananas). In the afternoon, take a boat trip on Lake Chamo where you will see hippos and the world’s most spectacular concentrations of giant crocodiles. The water birds are beautiful and the scenery is truly unforgettable. Overnight  Hotel.

Day 4 January 9, 2014 – ARBA MINCH to JINKA

Drive to Jinka with a stop at the Konso villages; the tribe is known for their colorful costumes, an impressive landscape and unusually engraved wooden statues used as grave markers. Afterwards, visit the local Banna and Tsamay market; a colourful market that attracts neighbouring tribes in the region. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 5 January 10, 2014 – EXCURSION to MURSI TRIBE`S VILLAGES

Full day excursion to the Mursi Village in Mago Park. The Mursi women wear circular clay plate on their lower lip as well ear lobes the men are known for the fierce stick fighting. Mago Park offers a variety of wild game such as Gerenuk, Oribi, Kudu, Hartebeest, Water-buck and many bird species (180 species have been recorded in this Park so far). Overnight Hotel.

Day 6 January 11, 2014 – JINKA to TURMI

Drive to Turmi with a stop in Dimeka to visit the Hammer Tribe, known for their hairstyles made from ochre, water, and binding resin. They rub the mixture into their hair and then twist the strands repeatedly to create coppery-colored locks. This is a sign of wealth and welfare. Hammers are considered to be masters of body decoration. They are also known for the Evangadi dance and Bull Jumping ceremony. Overnight Hotel.

Day 7 January 12, 2014 – TURMI to ARBA MINCH

Drive to Arba Minch, en route visit the Cushitic speaking Arbore tribe. The Arbore Tribe are pastoralists who believe that singing and dancing eliminates negative energy to brings prosperity to the tribe. Overnight Hotel.

Day 8 January 13, 2014 – ARBA MINCH to ADDIS ABABA

After breakfast drive back to Addis; enjoy your afternoon at leisure. Overnight Hotel

Day 9 January 14, 2014 – ADDIS ABABA

After breakfast, go on a City Tour of Addis Ababa; highlight will include the scenic Mount Entoto. At 2500 m, Addis Ababa is the third highest capital in the world and Entoto is several hundred metres higher. 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’. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 10 January 15, 2014 – ADDIS ABABA to BAHIR DAR

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flight to Bahir Dar. Bahir Dar is a beautiful town with tree-lined roads and the blue Lake Tana. Lake Tana is Ethiopia’s largest lake, dotted with many islands, many of which are the sites of churches and monasteries. After lunch, depart by boat to the Zeghe Peninsula, known for its 14th century, round, grass-roofed churches with their magnificent wall murals. You will visit two, Baeta Mariam and Ura Kidane Mihret Churches, walking through dense forest with prolific bird life. Bahir Dar has several clubs and bars where you can enjoy both traditional and modern Ethiopian music and dancing. Overnight at Tana Hotel or Similar

Day 11 January 16, 2014 – BAHIR DAR

After breakfast, go on a full day tour of the Blue Nile Falls, about 30 km from Bahir Dar. They are Africa’s second largest waterfalls; this is where the Blue Nile, the main source of the Nile River, begins its long journey to 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. Overnight Hotel.

Day 12 January 17, 2014 – BAHIR DAR to GONDAR

After breakfast drive to Gondar the imperial capital from the 17th to the mid-19th century. Visitors come to see the Imperial Compound, with the enchanting ‘Fasalidas’ castles still in good condition. There is also the bath of King Fasilides. Here, at Timket (Ethiopian Epiphany), a nearby river is diverted to fill an area the size of a small swimming pool and worshippers plunge into the cold water in a re-enactment of the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan. Although many of Gondar’s churches were destroyed in the Mahdist invasion from Sudan in the 1880s, one fine example, Debre Berhan Selassie, survives. According to the legend, a swarm of bees diverted the invaders. The walls and ceiling are covered with vivid murals: the angels’ faces on the ceiling have become a common motif in Ethiopian design. The tour ends with a visit to the ruined palace of Queen Mentowab and the church of Qusquam. Overnight Hotel.

Day 13 January 18, 2014 – GONDAR to AXUM

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Axum. From around 200 BC to 700 AD, Axum was the seat of an empire that extended across the Red Sea to Arabia, traded with India and China, had its own alphabet, constructed great engineering works and, in the 4th century, was one of the four great powers of the ancient world. You can see the remarkable stelae or obelisks, which are the largest single pieces of stone standing anywhere on the world. It is still not understood how they were transported from the quarry and erected. There are also tombs and castles of former monarchs, the Axum Museum and Mariamtsion Church, built on the site of Ethiopia’s first church. A chapel within the church compound is believed by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians to house the Ark of the Covenant, or the original tablets of Moses. Your tour starts with a visit to the museum and the stelae. Then you ascend a hill to see the castle of King Kalab, passing Mai Shum (the bath of the Queen of Sheba) on the way. Coming back into town, you will see the tomb of King Basen, visit the small museum inside the church grounds (the priests may likely put on display crowns of past kings for visitors to see), and end the day with a visit to the site known locally as Queen Sheba’s Palace, although in fact it is of a later date, the villa of an Axumite notable from around the 1st century AD. Overnight Hotel

Day 14 January 19, 2014 – AXUM- LALIBELA

After breakfast fly to Lalibela; meet assist and transfer to Hotel. Afterwards, enjoy your day at leisure. This evening we mark the beginning of The Timket Festival, which is the Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of the Epiphany, with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.

The Divine Liturgy, which begins at midnight with a procession by the church priest and faithful, is meant to symbolize the path Jesus took on his way to baptism at the Jordan River. The Tabot, a replica of the Tablet of Laws onto which the Ten Commandments were inscribed, is wrapped in rich linens and taken on procession which ends on the banks of the nearest body of water. Around 2 a.m the procession ends as the priests bless the body of water and sprinkle it on the participants. Most choose to fully immerse themselves in the water, as a symbolic renewal of their baptismal vows. 

Day 15 January 20, 2014 – LALIBELA

After breakfast, the Timket Festival continues with the Tabot being escorted back to its church in a colorful and vibrant procession. The streets are filled with people celebrating with music, dancing and games.The clergy, bearing robes and colorful umbrellas perform dances and songs while the elders march solemnly with their weapons. The procession is also an important social event as women gather, dressed in their finest clothing and the young men to perform spirited dances and songs. The procession ends when the Ark has been safely returned to its church. 

Day 16 January 21, 2014 – LALIBELA

After breakfast continue Tour of Lalibela; visit the rock-hewn Coptic churches. Bet Medihanialem is the largest, supported by 72 pillars and houses the 7kg (15 lbs) gold Lalibela Cross. You will go through a tunnel from Bet Medihanialem to Bet Mariam, in which there is a pillar that it is said Jesus Christ leaned against when he appeared in a vision to King Lalibela. Bet Mariam also contains fabulous carvings of various birds and animals. You will also visit Bet Danaghel; a chapel built in honor of martyred nuns. Bet Golgotha and Bet Mikael are twin churches and many believe that a visit to Bet Golgotha alone can guarantee your place in heaven! The twin churches also contain many important religious items and some of the best examples of early religious art in the country. The last church we visit is Bet Giyorgis, one of the more recent churches and best preserved. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 17 January 22, 2014- LALIBELA to ADDIS ABABA

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Addis; day at leisure then later enjoy an Ethiopian farewell dinner. Transfer to airport for light back home.

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