back to addis: the entoto mountains and the st. raguel & elias historical church

Wednesday, October 31:  This morning we get up at 6:00 a.m. so we can leave bright and early for the U.S. Embassy.  Ed needs to do some work before we take off for sightseeing, so he brings me along to twiddle my thumbs and wait…and wait.  From the embassy, after nearly two hours of waiting, we head directly into the Entoto Mountains.

the view of Addis Ababa from the Entoto Mountains

the view of Addis Ababa from the Entoto Mountains

The Entoto Mountains, north of Addis Ababa, were the site of Emperor Menelik’s former capital.  We admire the sprawling view of the city below.  We pass donkeys carrying loads of eucalyptus, which the locals have cut branch by branch off the trees on the mountain, leading to soil erosion and deterioration of the forest. Some donkeys carry grass to sell to the locals who spread grass over their mud floors when they have guests.  Women trudge up and down the mountain carrying loads of firewood on their backs, day in and day out. Apparently aid organizations are trying to find these women other means of livelihood, but it’s obvious many women are still dependent upon this work.

Forests stripped bare for survival

Forests stripped bare for survival

Burdens of firewood

Burdens of firewood

Near the top of the mountain, we stop at St. Raguel & Elias Historical Church. Inside the church are multitudes of brightly colored paintings that tell bizarre stories. We see paintings, as we do in every Ethiopian church, of St. George, the patron saint of the country.  We see the apostles meeting gruesome deaths.  We see the devil looking quite devilish.  Ethiopia’s Christian stories are rich in legend, and these legends are told pictorially in these paintings.  We find a saint who prayed for 7 years; though one of his legs has fallen off, he does have 6 wings. We see Doubting Thomas.  We see a large painting of the miracles of Christ: here he heals a blind man, there he turns water into wine, and here he raises Lazarus from the dead.

the sign to the church...

the sign to the church…

Entoto St. Raguel & Elias Historical Church

Entoto St. Raguel & Elias Historical Church

the dome on the church

the dome on the church

one of the many beautiful paintings in the church

one of the many beautiful paintings in the church

the holy altar

the holy altar

various saints on horseback

various saints on horseback

Besides the amazing stylized paintings in this church, there is a rock-hewn church on the grounds.  The passageway to this church, covered in moss, leads to a sanctuary where early Christians worshiped.

Click on any of the photos below to see a full-sized slide show.

Categories: Addis Ababa, Africa, Entoto Mountains, Ethiopia, st. raguel & elias historical church | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “back to addis: the entoto mountains and the st. raguel & elias historical church

  1. Pingback: last days in addis ababa « a nomad in the land of nizwa

  2. Deepani

    Hey there. I’m going to Addis this Friday and would like to hike up Entoto. Any advice on how to get from city center to a place that would make a good hike to the top?



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