Erta Ale Volcano – Danakil Depression Part 01

By: Heather and Matt

Erta Ale Volcano

We arrived in Ethiopia with little knowledge of where to go and what to see. With one major exception, we knew we wanted to visit the Danakil Depression located in the north. The fairytale-like landscape of the Dallol region and of course, the fiery lava on top of Erta Ale volcano made the area a photographer’s fantasy land.

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Debre Birhan Selassie Church in Gondar, the Lone Survivor

By: Matt

Debre Birhan Selassie Church

On top of a hill at the edge of Gondar lies what is considered the most important church in Ethiopia. Built by Emperor Eyasu II in the 17th century and named in tribute to him the “Mountain of Light”. At the time of its construction, it was not considered to be all that special. Then the city was sacked in 1888 by Mahdist Dervishes of Sudan, and all the other churches were burned down, leaving it the sole survivor. Legend says that when the Mahdist soldiers approached the church, a swarm of bees descended on the compound and kept the troops back. Legend further states that the Archangel Michael himself stood before the great wooden gates with a flaming sword drawn. What remains today is a treasure the people of Ethiopia are proud to share with you.

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Gondar Castle, The Camelot of Ethiopia

By: Matt

Gondar Castle, Ethiopia

Gondar Castle is not just one castle, but the name for an entire complex of palaces and castles in Gondar, Ethiopia. Known by the locals and the guide books as the Royal Enclosure, it is very near the center of town and easily located on foot or by tuk-tuk. This was one of the most interesting and intact sights we visited while in Ethiopia, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The entire complex takes up some 70,000 sqm, dates back to the 17th century and is often referred to by historians as the Camelot of Ethiopia. Upon entering the complex and purchasing your ticket, you will be immediately approached by a person from the local tour guide association, choosing to have a guide is optional so don’t feel pressured to hire one.

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Ezana Stone

By: Matt

Ezana Stone

The Ezana stone is an artifact from the ancient Kingdom of Aksum, which was located in the northern region of east Africa. King Ezana ruled the ancient Aksumite kingdom in the Horn of Africa from AD 330 to 356. There are three languages inscribed on the stone, Ge’ez (an ancient Eritrean/Ethiopian language), Sabaean (South Arabian) and Greek. The stone is a record of King Ezena’s victories in battle. Today the stone is in a small building in Aksum, Ethiopia and is part of what makes the city a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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