The Celebration of St. Mary of Zion, 29 November
The Orthodox Christian festival known as Hidar Tsion takes place in the fantastic highland town of Axum, Ethiopia’s most sacred city. Axum is where according to Ethiopian legend; the Ark of the Covenant resides within the church of St. Mary of Zion. Axum also has fascinating archeological sites including the ruins of the palace of the queen of Sheba. The Ark of the Covenant, first mentioned in exodus in the Old Testament, is the wooden chest where precise instructions given to Moses at the time he received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. The ark holds an especially important place in liturgical worship in Ethiopia, and a Tabot, or symbolic wooden or stone replica of the Ark, is found in every Ethiopian church. The Ark is also strongly associated with St. Mary, who is one of the most important figures in Ethiopia’s Orthodox Christianity. The joyous Hidar Tsion festival is a pilgrimage attended by thousands of people from all around the country.

Day 01: Flight to Axum “Hidar Tsion Eve”
We fly to Axum and after lunch, make an afternoon visit to the church of St. Mary of Zion, where, according to Ethiopian legend, the Ark of the Covenant resid es within a special chapel. In the evening, we enjoy Hidar Tsion Eve festivities. Overnight at a reserved hotel.

Day 02: Axum-Main Hidar Tsion Day
Today we watch the processions and celebrations of the main Hidar Tsion Day at the church of St. Mary of Zion. Overnight at a reserved hotel.

Day 03: Axum - Addis Ababa
Today, we fly back to Addis Ababa.Then explore the home and gallery of Ethiopia’s most famous artist, Afework Tekle, and time permitting; we will visit St. George Cathedral. After lunch (on your own), the afternoon is free until we have a farewell dinner at a traditional restaurant, followed by folkloric music and dances. Then it will be time for transfer to the airport to connect with the recommended flight home.