Adadi Mariam Rock-Hewn Church & Tiya
A pleasant drive south of Addis 38 kms is Adadi Mariam, a 13th century rock-hewn church that is Ethiopia’s southernmost church of its type. The rock hewn church of Adadi Mariam, is much like the Lalibela churches and the locals believe it to have been built on King lalibela orders on his visit to Mount Zuqwala in 1106. The church was damaged during the wars with Ahmed Gragn in the 16th century, but was reopened in the time of Menelik II. Not far away is the historical site of Tiya with its enigmatic field of stelae adorned by unusual engravings. Tiya has been named one of Ethiopia’s seven UNESCO “World Heritage Sites.”
Debre Libanos Church & Portuguese Bridge
Drive 110 kms north from Addis over the Entoto Mountains passing through the Sululta Plains to the Monastery of Debre Libanos founded in the 13th century by Abune Tekle Haymanot. Overlooking Jemma River Gorge, a tributary of the Blue Nile, the Monastery owns ecclesiastical, cultural and historical relics, and boasts a rare grove of trees that have disappeared from elsewhere in the region. Drive to a 16th Century Bridge still in use today and said to have been built by Portuguese.
Menagesha Forest & Addis Alem Mariam Church
Menagesha Forest is a jewel to have near the city where mammal species such as the duiker, colobus monkey and endemic Menelik bushbuck can be seen. Bird life is abundant in this densely wooded area where Rougets’ rail, blue-winged goose and black-headed siskin are among Ethiopian endemics to be noted while taking a leisurely walk. This is followed by a drive to visit the Addis Alem Mariam Church, originally built as Menelik’s palace and known for it’s murals. The church owns many important relics and artifacts bequeathed to it by the Emperor which are on display in the Church museum.
Addis Alem Mariam Church & Wonchi Crater Lake
Drive 35 kms west of Addis to visit the Addis Alem Mariam Church. Proceed driving to Ambo and then to the village of Wonchi where you will enjoy a trek down to the shore of the Crater Lake. By boat, reach an interesting church found on the island.
Debre Berhan & Ankober
130 kms northeast of Addis lies one of the oldest towns in the country, Debre Berhan. After visiting Debre Berhan Selassie Church where many interesting historical relics are kept, drive to the nearby town Ankober, birthplace of Emperor Menelik II. Ankober is situated on the edge of the escarpment and offers an extraordinary view of the region.
Mount Zuqualla Monastery & Crater Lakes of Debre Zeit
Drive south from Addis to Mount Zuqualla to visit the Zuqualla Monastery. Situated at the top of the mountain, the Crater Lake is surrounded by beautiful woods and considered to be holy. Take in the birds, plant life and scenery as you make a drive around the Debre Zeit Crater Lake region.
Melka-Kunatre archeological site and Tiya steales
The Melkam-Kunture Prehistoric Site lies near the Awash River Gorge is one of the most important archeological sites in Ethiopia, where hand axes and various other implements have been found. Tiya is a UNESCO heritage, where of a peculiar type of engraved, grave marking standing stelae, believed to have been erected between the 12th and 14th centuries stand. Remains of young people aged between 18 – 30 have been discovered here which had been buried in fetal positions.