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Bahir Dar, Blue Nile Falls, the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela Tour — 3 Days

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  • Trip Type Cultural Tour
  • Tour Code GHET-WE3
  • Private Journey
  • 3 Days
  • On this tour, you will enjoy a boat trip on the source of the Blue Nile—Lake Tana—and visit some of the famous island monasteries. The magnificent Nile Falls will be another highlight. The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are one of the world's most incredible manmade creations, commonly referred to by many as one of the “living wonders of the world”. These remarkable edifices were carved out of solid rock, in a region where the rugged landscape still protects the churches from mass tourism. The 11 manmade churches are found in the town of Lalibela. They are a lasting monument to man's faith in God.

On this tour you will enjoy a boat trip on the source of the Blue Nile, Lake Tana, and visit some of the famous island monasteries. The magnificent Nile Falls is another highlight.

The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are one of the world's most incredible manmade creations, commonly referred to by many as one of the “living wonders of the world”. These remarkable edifices were carved out of solid rock, in a region where the rugged landscape still protects the churches from mass tourism. The 11 manmade churches are found in the town of Lalibela, and they are a lasting monument to man's faith in God.

    
Trip Highlights

  • Take a boat cruise to visit the island monasteries of Lake Tana
  • Visit the source of the second-longest river, Blue Nile and the Blue Nile Falls
  • Discover the ancient rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
  • Enjoy a city tour in Addis Ababa

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar, Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls

In the morning, fly to Bahirdar. After checking into the hotel, we will take a boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. The 37 islands of Lake Tana shelter 20 monasteries — surviving remnants of an old, contemplative tradition. Because of their isolation, they were used to store treasures and religious relics from all parts of the country. The lake’s monasteries are famous for their typical Ethiopian religious paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and other ancient church treasures.

After having lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls. Thirty km after exiting Lake Tana, the Blue Nile plunges over a 45-meter-high face to form one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Africa. Walking to the falls through the beautiful river gorge on the ancient 17th-century bridge and meeting the local people at the small villages on the way to the falls is also a great experience.

Overnight: Blue Nile Resort, Bahirdar

Day 2:  Bahirdar, Lalibela

After breakfast, transfer from your hotel to Bahirdar airport for the flight to Lalibela. After checking into your hotel, we will drive to the site where we find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, referred to by many as one of “the living wonders of the world”. These churches are, and they have been for at least 800 years, an active Christian shrine — the spiritual center of the country’s religious life. The monolithic churches were carved out of a 2,600-square-meter natural rock terrace in the 12th century AD by King Lalibela.

Bete Medhani Alem, the largest monolithic rock-hewn church in the world, measures 37.7 ft. in height, covers an area of almost 2625 square ft., and has walls that are up to 6 feet thick. A plain building supported by 36 pillars on the inside and another 36 pillars around the outside, Bete Medhani Alem was modeled on the original St. Mary Zion Church built by King Ezana in the 4th century at Axum.
 
The rock-hewn churches that we will visit today include Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagil, Bete Golgotha Michael, and Bete Giorgis.

After having lunch and resting at the hotel, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to more of Lalibela’s remarkable churches. Their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed. After visiting the second group of churches, we will walk to the village through the complex, bewildering labyrinth of underground tunnels to the monastery were the monks and nuns live.
 
The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios, Bete Emanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos.

Overnight: Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 3:  Lalibela, Addis Ababa

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Lalibela Airport for your flight back to Addis. End of tour.

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