Our Mission in Ethiopia

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thursday and Friday were spent in Gondar, Ethiopia ~ 6 hours from Lalibela.  We witnessed a burial procession at  the only church of 44 churches in Gondar in the 17th century that is still standing, then we went to another old Ethiopian Orthodox Church where there was a BIG celebration going on for the holiday commemorating Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus' Flight Into Egypt.  Every Orthodox Church has a replica of the Ark of the Covenant and there was a ritual where they carried it (replica) around the churchyard, covered by a cloth in a big procession.  There were THOUSANDS of people there to watch and celebrate.  It was really something!!

After lunch, we saw six castles in the Royal Enclosure (right across from our hotel) belonging to kings in the 1600s and 1700s and also King Fasiledes' Bath House across town.  That is where they have Timkat, or the celebration of Jesus' Baptism around the 18th of January.  The pool surrounding the bath house takes one MONTH to fill and at the celebration people renew their baptism, after the Priest blesses the water, by jumping into the holy water.  We bought postcards showing the celebration!  Some of the photos of trees were taken on the grounds around the bath house.

Nightfall in Lalibela Wednesday

On the road from Lalibela to Gondar

We saw several different kinds of houses...

It's amazing what these people carry on
their backs and on their heads!

EVERY time we stopped anywhere we were
swarmed by children asking for carmelos (candy),
water bottles, pens or money.

STOP sign  Ü

This weird rock formation looked
like a fist with a thumb sticking up!

In every village and town, school kids
are walking down the roads ~ even
VERY busy highways ~ wearing some
type of school uniform.  On this road,
we saw pink, light blue and light green
school uniform shirts.
No time to go check out the village of WOLDIYA! : (

The Sunset Wednesday night in Gondar, Ethiopia 
from our Taye Hotel balcony.

 (This one is OUT OF ORDER!?)  : /

A mother and daughter along the road to Gondar

Another cool rock formation we saw on the way

The Royal Enclosure from our hotel balcony

A shot of Gondar from our hotel balcony
Eighty angels, watching all of God's children, are painted
on the ceiling of the church below.... Some consider this

church to have the best ecclesiastical art in Ethiopia.
Gate to the Debre Birhan Selassie Church
All the churches in Gondar were destroyed by Muslims in 1888
but this one.  It was protected by a huge swarm of bees!
Inside the church... the replica of the
Ark of the Covenant is in the Holy of Holies
behind the curtains.
Every inch of all four walls is covered by murals
telling stories from the Bible and the life of Jesus Christ.
The shape of the Church is symbolic of Noah's Ark
This is the Flight into Egypt celebration at the
Kuskuam Maryam Orthodox Church. 
The procession passed right in front of us.  The  replica of
the Ark of the Covenant is at the right under the red fabric.
(Our guide said it is just the tablets with the 10 commandments on.)
These are the priests chanting at the burial taking place at the
first church we went to.
This (also out of order) is the first church ~ the Debre Birhan
Selassie Church (which means "Mountain of the Enlightened Trinity").
Here we are with Elder and Sister Tanner in front of three of the castles in the Royal Enclosure.
(I don't know how THIS photo got in the middle of the church celebration!?!?)
This cute little girl was blowing a horn
 in celebration.
The Tanners visit with some of the church members attending
the two hour long celebration. Ethiopian Orthodox women 
must always have their heads covered at church.
The priests, holding their prayer sticks, chanted as they
sang the song written especially for this yearly celebration. 

Our guide showed us the deacons' houses on the
way down the hill where the church and celebration were.
Elafseghed Tsadiku Yohannes' Castle 1667-1682

The banquet hall in Adbar-Seghed Dawits' Castle
This was across town from the Royal Enclosure ~  King
Fasiledes' Bath House and 2nd residence.  There is a pool that 

goes all the way around the house.
This shows the pool around the bath house that
is filled just once a year for Timkat
(Jesus'  Baptism celebration).
Close up of the King's Bath House 1632-1667
Adamseghed Iyasus Castle  1682-1706
Messim-Seghed Bekafas Castle 1721-1730
The Itegie Mintimabs Castle had 7 lion cages and had black-mane
lions there until the last one was put in the Black Lion Zoo in
Addis Ababa in 1991!
 (Here are our scary husbands. Haha!)
Itegie Mintimabs Castle 1730-1755
This tree's roots went down both sides
of the stone wall at the King's Bath House.
This shows more tree roots growing down the
wall of the Bath House.
The end of another day of AMAZING sights in Northern Ethiopia!!
Alem Seghed Fasils Castle 1632-1667

(How did THIS get way down here!?!?)

Doors inside the castle

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