Wednesday, October 31: The ornate Holy Trinity Cathedral is believed to be the second most important place of worship in Ethiopia, after the Old Church of Saint Mary of Zion in Aksum, according to Lonely Planet Ethiopia & Eritrea. It also contains the huge Aksumite-style granite tombs of Emperor Haile Selassie and his wife, Empress Menen Asfaw.
The cathedral is a mixture of international styles and boasts a copper dome, slender pinnacles and interesting statues. Inside are some grand murals, rich stained glass windows and two imperial thrones of ebony, ivory and marble. In one of the large murals, Emperor Haile Selassie stands in front of the League of Nations asking for help against the Italian occupiers. They refused to help, except for Mexico, which became a long-lasting friend of Ethiopia.
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In a cemetery surrounding the Cathedral are the remains of ministers who were killed by the Derg in 1974. Other remains include patriots who died fighting the Italian occupation from 1935 to 1941. Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935, killing 275,000 Ethiopians with illegal mustard gas and bombing. In 1936, they captured Addis Ababa, and Emperor Haile Selassie fled the country. At that time the King of Italy was made Emperor of Ethiopia. Ethiopian patriots played a major role before, during and after the liberation campaign, which ended in May of 1941, when the emperor and his men took over Addis Ababa.
In the museum adjacent to the Cathedral, where we’re not allowed to take pictures, are gold crosses, intricately filigreed chalices, and beautiful books of doxology in Amharic and Arabic. We see a beautiful mosaic icon of the Virgin Mary donated by Haile Selassie, as well as a mosaic of Haile Selassie wearing all his medals.
After our explorations of Addis, we head back to Ed’s house where we relax a bit. Later, we go to an excellent French-ish restaurant called Loti. The restaurant has a lovely ambiance, with pressed leaves and dried flowers decorating the walls, a colorful poinsettia and artsy plates. We have some red wine and munch on crackers made of oats, barley and sesame seeds, dipped in a delicious guacamole dip. I order tilapia assay: tilapia with cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, carrots and potatoes. For dessert, we indulge on pumpkin pie with ice cream.
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The owner, Mani, walks around to greet all the patrons. She tells us she studied in the U.S. on a USAID scholarship and she’s proud of her education. She’s created a beautiful restaurant and is rightfully proud of her achievement. 🙂