The Gheralta Cluster: The Open Air Museum
5-Day The Gheralta Cluster
Mekele, Hazien, Mariam Korkor, Gheralta, Dugum Selassie, Addis
Flight and Surface
Yamral Africa’s representative will welcome you at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. You then will drive to your hotel. If your flight arrives in Addis Ababa in the morning, time can be made for sightseeing of in and around Addis Ababa. You will stay the night in Addis Ababa.
Fly Addis – Mekele – Drive Hawzien
You will take the morning flight to Mekele. Up on you arrival at the airport you will be set to the off-the-radar Gheralta region, home to thousands of mysterious cliff- and cave-carved sanctuaries. Your first stop will be at the Medhane Alem Adi Kesho, an impressive church for its size and complex architecture. The exterior is cut free from the rock behind with four columns in front and two large doors and it is covered in painting. You will then continue to Mikael Milhazengi, a church dedicated to Saint Mikael. The most remarkable feature of the church is its beautifully decorated dome. You will stay the night in Hawzien.
After breakfast at your hotel, you will visit the Debre Maryam Korkor, one of the biggest and most complex. It is situated on one of the high mountains of Gheralta.
While the climb up to the church is not technical, it offers the most spectacular panoramic view of Hawzien’s plain. You will walk for about one hour to reach the summit. The church of Maryam Korkor faces west and it has a white washed facade nestled into the cliff face. The interior of the church is decorated with paintings of stories from the bible. The church also has a wide collection of parchment manuscripts, archaic Bibles and crosses. You will spend the afternoon at leisure and stay the night in Hawzien.
This day you will drive to the village of Dugum which boasts a scenic location at the escarpment. Dugum Selassie is a site of an unusual rock-hewn church set in a granite outcrop within the compound of a modern church. This is the only site displaying three sanctuaries in a single area, a baptistery and a crypt-tomb. Drive back to your hotel to enjoy the beautiful sunset. You will stay the night in Hawzien.
Drive to Mekele – Fly Addis
After an early breakfast you will drive back to Mekele to catch your flight back to Addis Ababa. En route you will visit Abreha Atsbeha, an outstanding rock-hewn church dedicated to the famous twin Axumite kings, Abreha and Atsbeha, who introduced Christianity to Ethiopia during the 4th century. Visit and continue driving to Mekel for the afternoon flight back to Addis.