Historically Addis Abeba is considered to be the fourth permanent capital of the nation next to Axum Lalibela and Gonder respectively. The establishment of the city marked a decisive new era in Ethiopias history and the city was founded by empress Taitu Bitul in 1887 and Addis Abeba is literally meaning “New Flower” in the Ethiopian language. Its said that empress Taitu was struck, by the beauty of the flowering Mimossa trees in the area that she ordered the town should be given the name of Addis Abeba.
Addis Abeba is the heart of Africa’s most fascinating countries and its an ideal gateway to and from most Africa, middle East, Asia, Europe and the headquarters of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa was established in 1958 and its also the home African Union secretariat.
The city enjoys a mild and hospitable tropical highland climate with an average temperature of 160 degree centigrade. The high altitude has a cooling effect and hence the temperature does not vary significantly throughout the year and many visitors who expect the climate to be more tropical like other cities near the equator, are pleasantly surprised to find the climate so mild when they visit Addis Abeba. The city boasts plenty of tourist attractions like, churches palaces, museums, historical buildings and monuments, mosques, lion zoo parks, markets and so on.
Lalibela is located in the North Wollo administration zone, north of Addis Abeba. The physical landscapes of the town is characterized by a rugged topography on a mountain in picturesque setting an altitude of 2500metres above sea level and the town is also easily identified by various spectacular landscape structures ranging from gentle to steep slopes.
Lalibela was the capital of Zagwe dynasty which ruled over Ethiopia in the 12th and 13th centuries and its modern name derives from that of the most famous of Zagwe rulers, the 12th century. King Lalibela famed for its remarkable rock-hewn churches hewn out from a single rock. The churches of Lalibela are eleven in numbers and these churches were inscribed as world heritage site by UNISCO since 1978. King Lailebela is mentioned as the leading figures among the Zagwe dynasty who have left their imprints for generations. it’s said that under the unreserved help from saints and angels during the night, Lalibela had spent 23 years to carve all the churches by aiming to create the second Jerusalem in Ethiopia to make the Christians leave the difficult and tedious pilgrimage to the holy land-Jerusalem and Rock-hewn ecclesiastical buildings were highly developed and widely spread in Ethiopia during the medieval period.
It was the tradition that apparently laid down the knowledge basis for the construction of churches within a cave or from excavated rocks. Therefore, the nine saints who acquired such traditions were believed to have introduced the tradition of rock churches in Ethiopia. The rock hewn churches of Lalibela are eleven in numbers and they are divided into three groups separated by seasonal river Jordan. The first group comprises six churches located north of the Jordan river while the second group comprises four churches situated south of the the river and St.George is located in isolation on a sloping rock terrace south west of both the first and the second group of churches.
Bahir Dar is the capital of Amhara region situated on the southern shore of Lake Tana and its one of the leading tourist destination in Ethiopia with a variety of attractions in the nearby largest Lake Tana and Blue Nile spectacular waterfall. The city known as for its wide avenues lined up with palm trees and variety of colorful flowers like jacaranda, phoniex, African golden tulip. Lake Tana is the larget lake in Ethiopia with a total surface area of 3,673km2 and it is also the source of Blue Nile. Averaging some 14metres in depth and dotted with more 40 small, medium and large islands which inhabited more than 14 different types of fishes and 53 bird species.
Monasteries of Lake Tana and Zegie Peninsula is a home of more than 40 islands that makes Lake Tana the most breathtaking sites and a popular local legend has it that seven of the most 14th century monasteries were founded by a loosely allied group of monks known as the seven stars. These are Ura-Kidanemihret, Kibran Gebriel, Debre Mariyam, Dega Estifanos, Azewa Mariyam, Narga Selase, and so on.
Gonder is situated in Northwestern part of Ethiopia and home of medieval royal city and center of art and culture is famous for its many medieval castles and churches. This land of castles and churches was founded by Emperor Fasiledes in 1632 and served as royal capital of Ethiopian emperors for about 250 years. The foundation of this imperial capital witnessed a period of optimism and renaissance of the golden days of Axum and Lalibela architecture, literature, education, music, painting and commerce that had been perished after the fall of ancient Aksum, rose to prominence.
Gonder enjoyed a privileged position not only for its history, natural resources, but also for its strategic location at the cross roads of flourishing trade routes. Mean while a trade route to the west linking Ethiopia with Egypt Via Sudan was becoming increasingly important. Gonder was probably on the sites of an existing settlement with its own people, but the call of trade, art and construction soon attracted Armenians, Greeks, Persians, Portuguese, Indians, and the black Jewish known as Felasha in Ethiopian language. Three emperors Fasiledes, Yohannes , and Iyasu marked the splendor of the age of Gonder and their concerns and success revolved around trade, arts, construction and expanding Christian faith.
The Fasil castle lies at the heart of the city and this royal compound encompasses six lofty castles, many different purposes buildings like the royal, archive, house of the musician, the lion cage, the horse zoo, the sauna bath, house of spinners. Outside Emperor Fasil’s royal enclosure, there are several buildings of the same era and architectural art like Emepror Fasildes bath, empress Mintiwab compound found at Kuskuam Mariam , and Debre Birhan Selasse church well known for its colorful wall paintings that escaped entirely untouched from the Mahdist war when the Dervish of Sudan attacked Gonder in the end of 19th century.
The medieval walled city of Harer in Eastern Ethiopia, founded in the 7th century A.D. Harer was a major trading crossroad and a center of Islamic learning. Harer was a fiercely religious city dedicated to Islam and the city is considered by many to be the fourth holiest city in the Islamic world. Richard Burtons was the first European to enter to Harer in 1855 when he founded it harder to evade detection there than on his earlier visit to Mecca and the poet Rimbaud also chose Harer as his place of exile from French intolerance.
The whole setting of medieval walls tightly embracing the ancient city, its colorful weekly market is also one of the most tourist attraction in Harer and its towering and majesty mountains, conducive weather condition makes Harer a very alluring place. The town is famous for unique layout of its house, its intricate basketry, coffee,Hyena feeding and for trade of Khat- a stimulant leaf that is chewed. Fortified against invaders its protective wall was built between the 13th and 16th century and the historical wall of Jegol is still intact and pierced by five gates.
The ancient walled city of Harer was a major commercial center for many centuries. The medival walled city with its 92 mosques, shrines and its also famous for its old cultural buildings are registered by UNISCO as world heritage site.