lalibela visit

Ethiopia has a rich history which goes back at least three millennia. Facts and legends easily mingle and fascinating it is! History plays an important role in tourism in Ethiopia. The Historical Route is a often used as description for any tour which travels to the north of the country. Below we give a very brief overview of Ethiopian history to guide you to our destination pages.

Axumite Empire:

A visit to Axum brings you in the heart of the Axumite Empire which ruled Ethiopia and beyond until the 8th century AD. When it started is not known, legends bring it to time of the Queen of Sheba who lived around 1000 BC. The Yeha temple in Tigray is considered pre-Axumite and is dated to 700 BC. Christianity was introduced to the country in the Axumite period and many churches found in Tigray are from this time.

Zagwe Dynasty: Lalibela

The famous rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are build in the 12th century by king Lalibela during the reign of the Zagwe Dynasty. This dynasty was in power from the 9th until the 13th century. Many kings from this period left churches with different architectural styles around Lalibela.

Gondar: the medieval capital

A period without a capital and a strong presence of Muslim conquerors from Harar followed and Christianity came under tread in the Ethiopian Highlands in the 16th century. This is the time when the monasteries in Lake Tana blossomed as a save haven for the many treasuries.
After the defeat of the Muslims with the help of the Portuguese, Emperor Susneyos converted to Catholicism. This was not accepted by the people and he abdicated in favor of his son Fasilidas. He reestablished the Orthodox faith and founded Gondar as the capital in the 17th century which remained until mid 19th century.

Modern times

At the end of the 19th century Emperor Menelik II founded Addis Ababa, the current capital of Ethiopia. He and his successors Empress Zewditu and Emperor Haile Selassie left many historical buildings in and around Addis Ababa.