North Ethiopia: The Historical Route Part 3 - Rock Hewn Churches of Lalibela



April 25, 2011

There’s a charming legend about the creation of the rock hewn churches of Lalibela:

“Nearly 1000 years ago (12th – 13th Century), King Lalibela was poisoned by his half brother.  While in a coma, he was taken by angels to the first, second and third heavens. (Or was it Jerusalem?)  Here he was shown a fabulous city of rock-hewn churches.  Then G-d himself commanded him to return to earth, and re-creating what he had seen, build a new Jerusalem.”

North Ethiopia: The Historical Route Part 2 - Rock Hewn Churches of Tigray

Hawzien Plain

Gheralta Mountains

Tigray Region


April 13, 2010

The rock-hewn churches of Tigray number in the dozens and are scattered throughout the flat-topped, round-topped, spindle-topped spires of the Chain and Gheralta Mountains.

Several, if not most of these one thousand five hundred year old churches are inaccessible to all but the most hardy.  Toe holds, hand holds, steep climbs followed by ladders and ropes and pulleys are all part of the adventure.

 I attempted the rocky climb at Debre Domo but the sole of my boot unglued.   Instead of the hike, I waited in the shade as a local construction worker mended my shoe with a long, hooked needle and a skein of strong thread.

North Ethiopia: The Historical Route: Addis, Aksum, Gondar


The Lonely Planet guidebook recommends an itinerary called "Ethiopia's Historical Circuit:" ...

 “The historical sights (sic) along this loop north of Addis Ababa are monumental in both scale and detail.  The journey, although spectacularly scenic, is monumental in itself, covering at least 2500km (1500 miles).” *

And so I followed the historical circuit, (not a loop, but more of a crisscross of my own choosing) from Addis to Axum, Lalibela, Gonder, and Bahir Dar.<--break->

Gonder: Passover and the Jewish Community

Amhara Region
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
April 20, 2011

Gary Metzger
Administrative Director
NACOEJ – North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry
New York, New York

Dear Mr. Metzger,

cc: Family and Friends

Thank you for providing me with the contacts at the Jewish Community in Ethiopia.  Asher and Rabbi Waldman from Israel were generous hosts.

North Ethiopia: Holy Week

Addis Ababa



9 Miaziah 2003 (Ethiopian Calendar)

17 April 2011


Dear Family and Friends,


Ethiopia is a truly religious society - serious, thoughtful, and never sanctimonious. From my observations of the worshippers and the icons, paintings, carvings and decoration, I have the sense that religion here is a positive, optimistic and loving force.   I hear or see almost nothing of sin, or guilt or damnation.


What I do hear from everyone is a sincere “G-d bless you” and “G-d be with you.”

Ethiopia: Portraits

"Ferengi, fotoFerengi foto!" 
I heard this cry from the children everywhere as I traveled in Ethiopia.  "Ferengi, foto!"   This importuning was easy for me to decode, since even in Thailand, the word for "foreigner" is "ferang"!
The kids wanted me to take their photo.  And if I gave them a small gift for their trouble, so much the better.