Debre Birhan Selassie

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Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

January, 2016

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Reasons for trip

After experiencing the Ethiopian Epiphany in Gondar, we continued our sight seeing in a couple of other churches.

Debre Birhan Selassie, meaning Mountain of the Enlightened Trinity, was a short drive from our hotel. It was built in the 1690s and had been the site of many royal burials.

Whilst there are said to be 44 churches in Gondar, this is the only one not attacked in 1888 by the Madhist of Sudan apparently because of a swarm of bees protected it. It was unusual in that it was a square building with towers around it. It was built with the intention of getting the Ark of the Covenant from Axum in it, but they wouldn’t let it go.

Whilst this time I was allowed in, unlike other churches, I had to enter by a side door specifically for women.

It was relatively small and didn’t take long to look round but the main reason for the visit was the stunning paintings, particularly the 80 angel faces on the ceiling.

Helen Jackson

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