Ethiopia

Must see locations, events and places to travel and enjoy in Ethiopia.

Travel Destinations For An Unforgettable Vacation

Canada – Bolstered by the wave of positivity unleashed by its energetic new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and with dynamic cities that dominate global livability indexes – plus its reputation for inclusiveness and impeccable politeness – the world’s second-largest country will usher in its sesquicentennial in 2017 in rollicking good health. Marking 150 years since confederation, the birthday party promises to be heavy on bonhomie and highly welcoming to international gate-crashers. The weak Canadian dollar means visitors should have plenty of pocket money to spend on Canada’s exciting fusion food and mysteriously undeerrated wine.

Colombia – Decades of civil war and violent crime meant Colombian passport stamps were once for hardcore travellers only. Fast-forward to the present day, and the lost years seem but a dust speck in Colombia’s rear-view mirror. There are no world wonders here, but the country’s mix of vibrant culture, nature and hospitality is a rich tapestry woven by welcoming arms. More than a decade into its dramatic about-face, this South American jewel is even expecting a visit from the world’s No. 1 Catholic. When Pope Francis kisses Colombian soil in 2017, it will mark the Andean nation’s first papal visit in 30 years.

Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia

Finland – Long fought over by Russia and Sweden, Finland finally gained independence in 1917, The Finns will celebrate their centenary with gusto: expect everything from outdoor concerts and communal culinary experiences to sauna evenings and vintage travel poster exhibitions. There’s even anew national park: 27,000 acres around the village of Hossa, studded with pine forests and crisscrossed with rivers. With the country also playing host to the World Figure Skating Championships and the Nordic World Ski Championships in 2017, there’s never been a better time to discover Finland’s proudly unique culture and landscapes.

Dominica – Locals joke that if Christopher Columbus rose from the grave and returned to the Caribbean, Dominica is the only island he would still recognise. One glimpse of its prehistoric ferns and deserted shores, and you’ll see what they mean. For decades, an absence of shiny white beaches has helped keep at bay the resort development that has swept through other parts of the Caribbean, Coconut palms are the only skyscrapers you’ll see here. Visit before Dominica gets its first large-scale chain resorts in 2018, which will pave the way for anew era of tourism.

Nepal – Even natural disasters can’t keep Nepal down for long. The 2015 earthquakes caused devastation, but what is most striking from a traveller’s perspective is not how much was lost but how much remains. Landmark temples crumbled, but others came through with just the odd tile out of place, and whole swathes of the country escaped serious damage, including most of the popular hiking trails, Nepal has all the skills required to repair monuments and infrastructure, but what it does need is income. By visiting Nepal now and supporting local culture and people, you could help a nation rebuild and bounce back even stronger.

Nepal

Nepal

Mongolia – In 2017 Mongolia will raise the curtain on a b rand- new capital – city airport, a state-of-the-art facility that symbolises the rapid modernisation of this country of steppe nomads. Ulaanbaatar has been the biggest beneficiary of an economic boom – the capital’s transformed skyline bristles with glass and steel towers. At the centre of this development is a £380 million Shangri-La hotel complex, to be completed by 2017. Beyond the city lies Mongolia’s stunning and sparsely populated countryside. Lake Khovsgol, known as the Blue Pearl of Asia, is an undoubted highlight. In 2015 the lake was connected to Ulaanbaatar by paved road, cutting driving time by 10 hours.

Mynmar – Change has been a long time coming in the nation also known as Burma, but the election of the first civilian government in half a century has all eyes on the future. No-one is pretending that all of Myanmar’s problems have gone away, but things are moving in the right direction, and Southeast Asia’s most secretive country is now poised to receive an influx of travellers. Visiting comes with challenges, but the reward is a window onto a vanishing Asia, where the difficulties of travel are part of the appeal. You’ll find a land with more stupas than office towers, where life moves to the timeless rhythms of chanting monks and monastery bells.

Ethiopia – With its own calendar (where else can you get 13 months of sunshine?), timekeeping, script, language, cuisine, church and coffee, Ethiopia is as exotic as countries come. And whether you’re hiking through the Simien Mountains to see wildlife that roams nowhere else on Earth, climbing to a church carved into a remote cliff face in Tigray, or boating across the waters of Lake Tana to visit an age-old monastery, you’ll be overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscape. In 2017, new airline links will make the country more accessible than ever; be one of the first to get on board.

church-of-bet-abba-lalibela-ehiopia

Lalibela – Amhara Region, Ethiopia

The Mystery of Subterranean, Rock-Hewn Churches

The mysterious subterranean, monolithic rock-hewn churches of Lalibela have been in continuous use by Orthodox priests since the 12th and 13th centuries, when this remote mountain town was the capital of the important Zagwe Dynasty.

The purpose of each church has eluded modern-day histo­rians. Each building is unique in size, shape, and execution, precisely and painstakingly carved out of solid bedrock (some say by tens of thousands of workers), and some are ornately decorated. Legend has it that at least one of the churches was built by angels in a single day; another legend holds that the churches came to the Zagwe king in a dream.

All of the eleven churches are carved below ground level, some reaching more than 30 feet high. They are ringed by courtyards and trenches that interconnect and become a tangled maze of tunnels and passages between one building and the next. The churches are as treasured in Ethiopia as the Great Pyramids are in Egypt. The town of Lalibela itself, set amid craggy, dramatic escarpments more than 8,000 feet high, is a delight.

gonder-amhara-ethiopia

Gonder – Amhara Region, Ethiopia

The Surviving Castles and Churches of a Fallen Empire

At its strategic position at the foothills of the Simen Mountains, one of the highest ranges in Africa, Gonder became the capital of the Ethiopian empire in the 17th century under Emperor Fasil, and remained so for 250 years.

Surrounded by high stone walls, the Royal Enclosure lies at the heart of the town and is a one-stop visit for the most important imperial buildings. No fewer than five castles can be found there, the oldest attributed to Fasil and the most recent dating to the mid-18th century. In addition to being the empire’s administrative and commercial center, Gonder was also its religious center. Of the dozens of churches that once populated the city, seven were built during Fasil’s reign.

The most important standing today is Debre Birhan Selassie, famed for its 17th-century ceiling fresco of eighty cherubic faces.