The area to the north of Ethiopia, popularly known as the Northern Historic Route, contains some of the most interesting historical sites. Axum is the birthplace of Ethiopian civilization. Hidden like Jewels in the arid Tigrian Mountains are the Tigray Roch-Hewn Churches- interesting for those who wish to combine culture with climbing .
The Erta Ale shield volcano lies along the Danakil rift valley of northern Ethiopia. Its summit caldera contains an active lava lake that was first discovered in 1967 and has since been in constant eruption.
Gonder is the place of Ethiopian renaissance and 16th –Century castles. Lalibela has the famous Rock-hewn churches that may be considered among the eighth world wonder. Lake Tana ,at Bahir Dar ,is home to a group of remote Island monasteries.
North Ethiopia is also exceptional for its Landscape. At the highest point sits Ras Dashen(4540 m) –the fourth highest mountain in Africa forming part of the spectacular Semien Mountains-heaven for trekkers and horse riders. At the lowest point lies the Denakil depression, 100 meters below sea level and one of the lowest and hottest places on earth.
Solely in the north of Ethiopia four sites –Axum, Lalibela, Gonder and The Semien Mountains –are World Heritage Sites registered by UNESCO.
Erta Ale ( also spelled as Arta Ale , Herta Ale ) is one of the spectacular and unique places in Afar- Ethiopia ( May be in the world ). It is the most active isolated shield Volcano in Ethiopia famed for its long-standing lava lake activity.This volcano is situated in the Danakil depression of Northern Afar along the NNW-SSE trending Erta Ale range.
In Eastern Ethiopia ,near the southern end of the Red Sea,an immense ,more or less triangular depression descendes far below sea level (at some points 120 meter below sea level). Known as the Danakil Depression,this extremely hot and dry area is actually a part of the Africa's great rift valley. In this seemingly inhospitable area there live the nomadic Afar people who number about 3 million. Their external borders are Eritrea,Djibouti, and Somalia.
THE ROCK HEWN CHRCHES OF LALIBELA
"the ultimate in rock-church design.... One is amazed at the technical skill, the material resources and the continuity of effort which such vast undertakings imply".
"I swear by God, in whose power I am, that all that is written is the truth, and there is much more than I have already written, and I have left it that they may not tax me with its being falsehood."
Gondar ,the 17th century capital of Ethiopia,is a historic town that is found 748 kms to the north. Founded by Emperor Fasilidas around 1635, the city is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and decoration of its churches built between 1632-1855 by the various Emperors who reigned during this period.These dramatic castles, unlike any other African buildings , display a richness in architecture that reveals the Axumite traditions as well as the influence of Arabia.
Axum, / Aksum/, is a city in Tigray , northern Ethiopia, located at 14°07.475'N 38°43.975'E near the base of the Adoua mountains. It was the center of the Axumite Kingdom , which emerged around the time of the birth of Jesus and declined (after about 1000 years of dominion ) due to the shift of the power center of the Ethiopian Empire further south.
Bahir Dar is a city in north western Ethiopia and the capital of the Amhara Administrative Region. The city is situated on the southern shore of the source of the Blue Nile.It is 550 kilometers from Addis Ababa, the capital city. Its climate is somewhat tropical and different from the typical highland climate of northeastern Shoa.