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Ethiopia: Reasons to Visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral

Posted by addisethiopia on August 1, 2016

Many may think there is not much to visit at the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Well I used to think like that too before I saw a set of tourists in a van entering into the cathedral this week. I stopped by to see what important things they were about to visit there.

“It is my first time and am so thrilled to see the tomb of Haile Selassie I, one of the most influential kings in African History!” said a tourist from France named Mariana, a 52 years old lady. She and her friends came to see Axum, Lalibela and other top tourist sites of Ethiopia but caught up in visiting the cathedral.

“It is a very interesting place. It tells history” said another tourist from Germany named Marque, 34, after visiting the museum. The museum is home for the royal crowns, robes, jewels, ornaments, dressings, and other utensils that are made of golds silver and fancy stones of the late royal family.

Getenet Teshome, an elderly man, with a deep knowledge of history serves at the cathedral as a guide. He gives detailed and vivid explanations about the cathedral and the then history of Ethiopia to visitors.

According to him, Haile Selassie I takes the major credit for Ethiopia’s first written constitution in 1931 which proclaimed all Ethiopians equal and united under one law and one emperor. Haile Sellasie also created a two-chamber parliament with a popularly elected lower house. And the traditional church law was supplanted by the country’s first legal code, and all children born to slaves were eventually freed.

Among the marvelous paintings and sculptures of the inside wall of the cathedral, there is a painting which shows the majesty’s speech in Geneva, Switzerland about his denouncing statements on the invasion of his country by Italy in 1936. Haile Selassie stood out as an international statesman. His leadership in the subsequent Pan-African movement was rewarded by the Organization of African Unity.

The two tombs hold the remains of the king of kings Haile Selassie I and his queen Menen Asfaw put to rest in 1993. The museum also holds the royal seat, ten pillars with ten commandments written on them, paintings of archangels, doomsday and what have you! There are many things that attract attention inside the cathedral.

Also the tomb has important figures, which resembles the ancient civilization bases of Axum at the top, Lalibela in the middle and lion of Judah at the bottom.

The church was started first in 1924 E.C and disrupted following the war with Italy. It was called off and then finished later on 1936 E.C

Beside the cathedral there is a museum that holds, among others, an early huge parchment bible made of horses and oxen skin which is locally called Brana.

According to Negash Tekele Tsadik, a curator at the museum, the manuscripts are dozens decades old and are different from other manuscripts by their size. The parchment bibles leave you with questions like “How did they make it?” ” How did they craft the words carefully at that time when there was no means for printing?” ” How long did it take them to finish this big sized pages ?”

Other things to see in the museum are the royal seats of Haile Sellasie, Menen and Emperor Menilk made of ebony and ivory, materials they were served with, war troops wear, blades and extra.

Foreign tourists are not the only ones who visit this touristic place. Ethiopians often pay a visit too. Arsema Bekele is a student at the Addis Abeba University. She told me that she spent her summer time heading to libraries and visiting museums. The cathedral wasn’t on her list but she told me “I wonder what took me so long to visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral. But my life has changed because of it. Especially when I saw the tombs of all renowned patriots, artist, authors, politicians, leaders , ministers, scientists, popes and the life they had and the contribution they made I felt inspired to restart my life and do something for my country.”

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