- 2 days (Approx.)
- Mobile ticket
One of Ethiopia’s more popular attractions to catch the eye and interest of tourists is the yearly Meskel celebration. The September Meskel Festival marks the finding of the True Cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. The festival is ancient, dating back over 1,600 years. It is celebrated with yellow Meskel daisies placed on top of huge bonfires that are lit in the evening in front of the throngs of celebrants.
- 2x Breakfast
- 2x Dinner
- 2x Lunch
- Accommodation included: 1 night
- 2 liter bottled water per day per passenger Driver allowance English speaking guide
- All Fees and Taxes
- Local guide fees Government tax and 8% service charge
- Entry/Admission - Meskel Square
- Entry/Admission - Adadi Mariam
- Alcoholic drinks Video and camera fees if and where applicable
- Tips, telephone calls, laundry services and other expenses
- Entrance fees to any special ceremonies you might encounter by chance
- International and domestic flights Any other expenses which are not mentioned on price includes
Traveler pickup is offered
Bole International Airport Addis Ababa
Day 1: Addis Ababa City Tour and Demera Festival
Stop At: Meskel Square, Addis Ababa Ethiopia
Up on your arrival at Bole International Airport and you will clear immigration and proceed to baggage claim, after collecting your checked bags, clear customs and pass through the arrivals hall where you will be meet by FINOT Tour Ethiopia representative, who will assist you with your transfer to your hotel.
After a breakfast in the Morning, you will enjoy a half day guided tour of the Ethnological Museum, with its artifacts and displays of the cultures and handicrafts of Ethiopia’s many ethnic groups. At the famous National Museum, with its cultural and archaeological relics, you will visit the famous “Lucy,” a 3.2 million-year-old female hominid who was discovered in Ethiopia’s Awash Valley in 1974. The open-air market of Addis, the Mercato, is the largest on the continent, and you will take a drive through it. Time permitting; you may also visit Ba’ata Church, also known as Menelik’s Mausoleum, one of the oldest of the churches in Addis, built in 1911. It houses beautiful paintings and the royal tombs of past emperors, including Emperor Haile Selassie. Late in the afternoon you will transfer to Meskel Square and patriciate the eve of Meskel and Demar ceremony.
REMARKS: One of Ethiopia’s more popular attractions to catch the eye and interest of tourists is the yearly Meskel celebration. The September Meskel Festival marks the finding of the True Cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. The festival is ancient, dating back over 1,600 years. It is celebrated with yellow Meskel daisies placed on top of huge bonfires that are lit in the evening in front of the throngs of celebrants.
The main Meskel celebration includes the burning of a large bonfire, the Demera, in Meskel Square in Addis Ababa. This takes place on the eve of Meskel, and is based on the belief that Empress Eleni, the mother of the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, had a revelation in a dream. She was told that she should make a bonfire and that the smoke would show her where the True Cross was buried. She ordered the people of Jerusalem to bring wood, and after adding frankincense, the bonfire was lit and the smoke rose high up to the sky. It then fell back to earth and returned to the ground, swirling around at the exact spot where the Cross had been buried.
During the celebration of the Finding of the True Cross, ornately robed priests carrying silver crosses dance with their followers around the fires singing and chanting and carrying flaming torches. Sunday school students dressed in traditional Ethiopian plain white clothes furnish color to the event by singing hymns and presenting colorful spiritual and artistic religious shows to the crowd. Millions of followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church celebrate Meskel every year throughout the country. The festivities also mark the end of the three-month long rainy season and the return of summer to Ethiopia. No rain is expected to occur after Meskel – and indeed it is rare for this to happen. The scenery of this religious festival is a feast for the senses and for the soul.
The Meskel festival is unique to Ethiopia. No other country celebrates the Finding of the True Cross, and it is a celebration as old as the actual finding of the True Cross. Ethiopia is now engaged in an effort to register the Meskal festival as one of the World’s Cultural Heritage experiences. We believe it deserves this designation because of the ancient nature of the celebration, its color and significance and the attraction it has for a growing number of tourists as well as the immense participation of the society and of people of all ages which adds to its inimitable quality. UNESCO should seriously consider welcoming the Meskel celebrations as a World Cultural experience, contributing significantly to the enrichment of human culture.
Duration: 8 minutes
• Breakfast: Depend on Your Arrival Time
Accommodation included: Soramba Hotel
Day 2: Drive to Addadi Mariyam and Melika Kuntire Archaeological Site
Stop At: Adadi Mariam, Addis Ababa Ethiopia
Pick up is at 7.30 am, and we then head south-west on the Jimma road, before turning due south on to the Butajira Road. Melka Kunture lies near the Awash River Gorge and is one of the most important neolithic sites in Ethiopia. Hand axes and various other implements have been found here. There is a museum at the site.
About 5 km further on the Butajira Road, is the rock hewn church of Adadi Mariam, contemporaneous with those of Lalibela – in fact local tradition ascribes it to King Lalibela who is said to have had it built on his visit to Mount Zuqwala in 1106. Damaged during the wars with Ahmed Gragn in the 16th century, it fell into disuse and was only reopened in the time of Menelik II. It is today in regular use.
Our final stop today is at Tiya, classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, where we can see the northernmost example of a peculiar type of engraved, standing stellae which stretch across parts of southern Ethiopia. These stellae are believed to have been erected between the 12th and 14th centuries and are almost certainly grave markers – recent excavations at Tiya have revealed the remains of young people of both sexes, aged between 18 – 30 and buried in foetal positions.
At some stage today we will take a picnic lunch, perhaps near the Awash River Gorge, and leave for the return journey to Addis Ababa mid afternoon.
Duration: 7 minutes
No accommodation included on this day.
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking
- Wheelchair accessible
- Stroller accessible
- Near public transportation
- Infants must sit on laps
- Infant seats available
- Transportation is wheelchair accessible
- Most travelers can participate
- This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.