Churches in and around Addis Ababa

Washa Mikael church
located at about a kilometer north of Yeka Mikael church. There is still a ruin of carved rock-hewn church in the area. According to legendary accounts, its establishment is dated to the times of ancient Axumite Kings, Abreha (Ezana) and Atseba (Saizana) i.e. around 370 A.D. The ‘Tabot’ (the replica of the Ark of the Covenant) is said to have been transformed in 1897 into the Yeka Mikael church down the road.

Entoto Saint Mary’s Church
It is located at the top of the hill of Entoto. It was built in 1880s by the request of Queen Taitu for her husband Menelik II. It is an Octagonal form with the three distinct concentric chambers. The interior walls of the church are covered with beautiful paintings. Abune Mathewos, the bishop, crowned Emperor Menelik II there. The palace and the museum are also found within the church compound

St. Raguel church - a two-storey church situated at about a kilometer distance in the northwest of St. Mary’s Church. Like many other Ethiopian churches, its interior wall is decorated with traditional paintings. Around the church, there are two rock-hewn caves carved in small cliff. They were probably excavated around the close of the 14th century, during the reign of King Dawit (r. 1380 – 1430). The one was used as a church and the other as a place for the preparation of the Holy Communion, also known as Bethelhem. During the wars of Ahmed Gragn, the caves were used to hide religious treasures. According to the local people, the caves were also served as a resting place of Emperor Menelik II before his body was finally placed in the mausoleum at Be’eta Mariam.

St. George Cathedral that is locate in Paisa near to the Menelik II monument. The original church was a round building of traditional style with thatched roof, built in 1897. The ‘tabot’ of St. George was marched to the Battle of Adowa. It is perhaps for its commemoration that the church was built. The current church is an octagonal building, set in pleasant wooded gardens and elegant doomed and was built in 1906. It is decorated with several interesting paintings and Afework Tekle (Ethiopia’s leading modern artist) did some of them. It has a small but interesting museum, which has several valuable treasures.

Be’eta St. May church; it is found within the compound of the Grand palace. Empress Zewditu built it in 1911. Paintings of the wall of the sanctuary are very interesting that also depict some the members of Menelik’s II royal family and scenes of events during his time. The ground floor contains Menelik II Mausoleu that houses the skeletal remains of Menelik II, Empress Taitu, Empress Zewiditu, Abune Mathewos (the Archbishop who crowned Menelik) and prince Tsehay (daughter of Emperor Haile Selassie I). Within the compound, near to the Be’eta St. Mary’s church, there is also the church of Kidane Mihert built in traditional tukuls style with a thatched peaked roof.

Holy Trinity Cathedral -Emperor Haile Selassie I built it in 1941 after the restoration of independence from the Fascist Italian occupation. Many beautiful paintings, morals and stained-glass windows decorated the interior. Its exterior is very impressive with elaborate pillars and carved decorations. There are many statues of angels and disciples on the rooftop, culminating in an impressive way. The tombs of Queen Mennen (wife of Emperor Haile Selassie I) is found inside the church. In the church yare, there are tombs and monuments of very important persons including the patriots who lost their lives during the five years Italian occupations of Ethiopian, members of the royal family, commemorations of Ethiopian soldiers who died in the Korean War (1950 -1953 and monument of Sylvia Pankhrust.