Ethiopia Historic Route Tour
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Tour package price$4.200.00 per person based on double occupancy hotel accommodation 

Minimum Tour Group Size: 10 people                                Maximum Tour Group Size: 20 people

Duration: 12 days and 9.5 nights                                        Airline Carrier: Ethiopian Airlines (Direct flight)

Departure Airport: Dulles International Airport (IAD), Washington DC (United Airlines connections available from several US airports)

Arrival Airport: Bole International Airport (ADD), Addis Ababa, 




ITINERARY

Day 1: Sunday August 11th, 2013
Depart Dulles International Airport, Washington DC to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Ethiopian Airlines flight # ET 0501 at 11.00 a.m. 

Day 2: Monday August 12th, 2013 
Arrival at Addis Ababa:
Arrive at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa at 7.30 a.m. After completion of Customs and Immigration formalities, retrieve your luggage and proceed to the exit of the arrival hall.

You will be met by our tour manager/guide who will facilitate loading of your luggage onto a waiting tour bus and transfer you to your hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel, complete the check in process and have breakfast before heading to your hotel room to recuperate from the transcontinental flight. 

Depart the hotel in the mid afternoon for shopping at the Merkato. En route, stopover at a Currency Exchange Center and change your US Dollars into Ethiopian Birr. The Merkato is a large open air and indoor indigenous market place where a diverse array of traditional Ethiopian Fashions and souvenirs are sold. Spend the rest of the afternoon haggling with traders for price reduction on items you want to purchase.

Return to the hotel in the evening and have dinner at the hotel restaurant. After dinner, retire to your rooms for the night.

Breakfast and Dinner included,            Lunch on own account,                   Overnight Jupiter International Hotel

Day 3: Tuesday August 13th, 2013
After breakfast, go on a full day city tour of Addis Ababa. Venues of interest include:

• Trinity Cathedral a beautiful church with a baroque style of European Architecture unique to both Ethiopia and Africa, 
• National Museum, home of the famous complete hominid fossil remain of Lucy dating back 3.2 million years
• Ethnological Museum which presents different collections providing an overview of the history, culture, tradition and religions of almost all tribal groups in Ethiopia 
• Mount Entoto, a panoramic view point at the highest peak in Addis Ababa with an altitude of 3200 meters. A great location for taking pictures of the City.

Return to the hotel in the late afternoon for a short respite. Embark on an evening drive to a traditional restaurant in the city for a Welcome Dinner. Sample a wide variety of Ethiopian Cuisines and watch folkloric dance and music performances from different tribal groups while you enjoy your dinner.

Late evening return to your hotel. 

Lunch on own account,                     Welcome Dinner included,                  Overnight: Jupiter International Hotel

Day 4: Wednesday August 14th, 2013 
Depart Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar: 
After an early breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for Ethiopian Airlines flight # ET 126 at 7.30 a.m. to Bahir Dar. 

Arrive at 8.35 a.m., retrieve your luggage and board a tour bus to transfer to your hotel. After check in to the hotel embark on a 33 Kilometers road trip to the mighty Blue Nile falls, commonly known as “Tiss Isat” meaning “Water that Smokes”. This experience involves a walk from the village of Tis Isat along meandering foot paths by open fields before being rewarded by the thundering mist and spectacular views of the second largest waterfall in Africa

 After lunch, go on a city tour of Bahir Dar that includes a drive through Bahir Dar University. Spend the afternoon shopping for traditional Ethiopian clothes, Arts and Crafts at the local market. Bahir Dar is the regional production center for cotton textiles used in sewing traditional clothes. 

Early evening return to your hotel. After dinner spend the rest of the evening at leisure.

Lunch on own account,                             Dinner included,                                   Overnight: Abay Minch Lodge

Day 5: Thursday August 15th, 2013
Bahir Dar – Gondar
After breakfast, cruise across Lake Tana, the largest water body in the country to visit some of the Island Monasteries. These include Tana Cherkos, Narga Silasie, Ura Kidane Mihret and Entons Eyesus which are famous for their beautiful wall paintings that depict many historical writings from the Bible and other religious books.  

These historic island and lakeside churches built in the 17th century are repositories of priceless illustrated manuscripts, fine ceremonial gowns, historic crowns and scepters, and ecclesiastical robes. These current centers of worship serve a dual role as fascinating museums that underscores Ethiopia formerly called Abyssinia, as the Cradle of Orthodox Christianity. Return to the shore of Lake Tana to visit Debre Sina Mariam Church which is also decorated with different religious paintings. 

After checking out of your hotel, depart Bahir Dar to Gondar the “Camelot of Africa.” Upon arrival in Gondar, transfer to the hotel for check in. 

Lunch on own account,                                Dinner included,                                            Overnight: Goha Hotel 

Day 6: Friday August 16th, 2013 
Gondar: 
The city tour of Gondar focuses on the ruins of several medieval castles located in a compound built by 17th century Gondrian kings. The compound is currently called the “Royal Enclosure”. During that period, several emperors and kings constructed castles in the European middle age architectural style. These include Fasilides Castle, Iyasu’s Palace, Dawit Hall and Mentewab’s Castle.

Noteworthy buildings outside the Royal Enclosure that will be visited include the ruins of the Baths of King Fasilides which is still used for the celebration of the Temket/Timkat Festival – the annual Epiphany of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.  

The tour ends with a visit to the Debre Birhan Silassie Church to view its iconic paintings depicting writings in the Old and New Testament of the Bible. 

Lunch on own account,                                Dinner included,                                           Overnight: Goha Hotel 

Day 7: Saturday August 17th, 2013 
Gondar - Lalibela
After an early breakfast and check out of the hotel, transfer to the airport to board Ethiopian Airlines flight # ET 122 at 8.45 a.m. to Lalibela. Arrive at 9.20 a.m. and transfer to the hotel for check in. After a brief respite, go on a morning and afternoon tour of the first group of Rock Hewn Churches namely the twin churches of Bet Debre Sina & Golgotha with Selassie Chapel, Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Mariam, Bet Meskel and Bet Danagil.  

The tour of these historic churches literally carved out of massive monolithic rocks typical of the terrain in northern Ethiopia is truly a unique experience. It underscores the brilliant feats of craftsmanship, engineering and architecture of Ethiopians of that era. 

The 11 medieval monolithic rock hewn churches classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites were built in the 13th Century by King Lalibela to create a Holy and Symbolic place of worship for Christians in Ethiopia. 4 of these churches are free standing structures connected to the rock only at their base. The remaining churches are either semi-detached or hidden in enormous caves. These churches are connected to one another by a maze of tunnels with several open-air sections. 

Transfer to the hotel upon completion of the tour of the first group of churches. After dinner at the hotel, spend the rest of the evening at leisure.

Lunch on own account,                            Dinner included,                                  Overnight: Mountain View Hotel 

Day 8: Sunday August 18th, 2013
After breakfast, continue the exploration of the Rock Hewn Churches of Lalibela by visiting the Cave Church of King Ne'akuto Le'ab who was King Lalibela's nephew and successor.

King Ne'akuto Le'ab abdicated his throne in 1270 AD and started living a hermit's life in a cave which became a monastery. This church is simple and attractive one built on the site of a much older shrine located 7km from Lalibela The monastery houses one of the most interesting collections of ancient crosses, illuminated manuscripts and other icons some of which are attributed to its founder King Ne'akuto Le'ab.

Return to Lalibela in the afternoon to tour the second group of rock hewn churches which include Bet Gebrial-Raphael, Bet Mercurious, Bet Lehem, Bet Emanuel, Bet Aba Libanose and Bete Giorgis. 

The theme of a “new” Jerusalem is manifest in the location of the churches on either side of a river aptly called the “Jordan.” On one side is the “Earthly” Jerusalem and on the other side is the “Heavenly” Jerusalem of splendor and wealth mentioned in the Bible. 

An amazing feature of the Rock Hewn Churches of Lalibela is the fact that these historic churches are currently used as daily places of worship and as a pilgrimage destination for devout Ethiopian 
Christians.  

After dinner, spend the rest of the evening at leisure.

Lunch on own account,                           Dinner included,                                   Overnight: Mountain View Hotel 

Day 9: Monday August 19th, 2013
Lalibela – Axum: 
After an early breakfast and check out of the hotel, transfer to the airport to board Ethiopian Airlines flight # ET 122 at 9.40 a.m. to Axum. Arrive at 10.25 a.m. and transfer to your hotel for check in.

Axum, also called Aksum was the center of a powerful marine trading kingdom located in the northeastern region of Ethiopia from 400 BC to10 AD. This ancient civilization had its own written language called Ge’ez and was at its apex, a center of trade for agricultural resources, gold and ivory through the port of Adulis into the Red Sea network and further on to the Roman Empire.  

Axum is replete with ancient monuments and ruins that underscore its position as an ancient civilization and its current classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The kingdom of Aksum developed distinctive architecture in the form of Obelisk. You will have an opportunity to see the “Obelisk of Axum” which is broken into five pieces lying on the ground. At an erect posture it would measure up to 24 meters (78 feet). The Northern Stelae Park is full of other erect obelisks and stelaes, with heights up to 33 meters (108 feet) some with unique inscriptions on their surface. 

The Park is also home to one of the best Archaeological Museums in Ethiopia with a plethora of artifacts providing insights into how people lived their lives during that era. Spend some time reviewing the various displays at the museum.

Transfer to shopping strip in the city center to spend time shopping at the several shops selling Ethiopian Arts, Crafts, Fashion and Jewelry all along the same road

Return to your hotel in the early evening. After dinner, spend the rest of the evening at leisure. 

Lunch on own account,                              Dinner included,                                            Overnight: Yeha Hotel

Day 10: Tuesday August 20th, 2013
After breakfast, continue your tour of the fascinating city of Axum. The kingdom of Aksum had a stratified society with rank and position depicted through elaborate funerary monuments for the elite. Your tour of King Kaleb’s and the tombs of other kings will reveal rock cut, underground multi-chambered shaft tombs marked by stelaes above ground. Other tombs are characterized by large multi-storied superstructures above.

A visit to the ruins of the Palace of the Queen of Sheba, the Baths of the Queen of Sheba, King Ezana’s Inscription and St. Mary of Zion Church will provide an opportunity for a retelling of history. It is alleged that the Church is home to the Ark of the Covenant containing the remnants of the “10 Commandments of Moses” which was brought to Aksum by King Menilik, the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon of Israel.

After completion of the tour, return to the shopping strip to continue shopping for Arts, Crafts, Fashion and Jewelry. Early evening return to your hotel. After dinner spend some time packing for your return flight to Addis Ababa

Lunch on own account,                                     Dinner included,                                       Overnight: Yeha Hotel

Day 11: Wednesday August 21st, 2013
Axum – Addis Ababa: 
After an early breakfast, check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport for Ethiopian Airlines flight # ET 129 at 8.45 a.m. to Addis Ababa. Arrive at Bole International Airport at 9.50 a.m. Retrieve your baggage and transfer directly to your hotel for check in. 

Spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon on a shopping tour of the Merkato and re-visits to venues and sites agreed upon by members of the tour group. 

Return to the hotel and spend the rest of the afternoon packaging Arts and Crafts purchased during your visit to Ethiopia and packing for your return flight to the USA 

In the early evening, check out of your hotel room (late checkout included) and have dinner at the hotel restaurant. Transfer to Bole International Airport to check in for Ethiopian Airlines flight # ET 0500 departing for the USA at 10.15 p.m. 

Lunch on own account,                         Dinner included,                          Day Rooms: Jupiter International Hotel

Day 12: Thursday August 22nd, 2013
Arrive at Rome Fiumicino Airport at 3.25 a.m. Stay on the airplane as passenger with Italy as their final destination disembark. 

After refueling, Ethiopian Airlines flight # ET 0500 departs for the USA at 4.25 a.m. 

Arrive at Dulles International Airport, Washington DC at 8.30 a.m. Complete Customs and Immigration process and retrieve your luggage. Transfer to connecting flights or rides home.