Temporary highway closure, Addis Ababa style!
I joked with the driver that his taxi was the Mercedes of Ethiopian taxis as it actually had a knob to roll down the window and was in otherwise pretty good shape!
On arrival at the Holy Trinity Cathedral also known as the Selassie Cathedral, several people told us we needed to buy tickets prior to entering. Pretty official looking tickets and a tad cumbersome for any memento album!
The cornerstone of the church was laid in 1931 by then Emperor Haile Selassie. The massive and ornate cathedral is the second-most important place of worship in Ethiopia, ranking behind the Old Church of St Mary of Zion in Aksum.
The exterior had a rather Arabic façade.
The former patriarchs of the Ethiopian Orthodox church:
To the west of the cathedral was the tomb of the famous British suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst. She was one of the very few people outside Ethiopia who protested Italy’s occupation; she moved to Addis Ababa in 1956.
We noticed a number of women praying quietly against the wall of the church but, just a moment later, saw a guard moving them on with his baton. What a shame they weren’t allowed to stay as I saw no harm in what they were doing or how they were conducting themselves.
The interior was lavishly decorated by ecclesiastical paintings in both the modern and medieval Ethiopian styles.
There were some grand murals, the most notable being Afewerk Tekle’s depiction of the Holy Trinity, with Matthew (man), Mark (lion), Luke (cow) and John (dove) peering through the clouds. There were also some brilliant stained glass windows.
The cathedral was the final resting place of Emperor Selassie and his wife, Empress Menen. Their identical granite crypts were placed there in November of 2000, 25 years after the emperor’s death following a colorful reburial procession.
Statue of Haile Selassie – he was so short, he was always shown standing on a podium.
A number of the items in the museum’s collection had been taken from Ethiopia to England and Italy for 'safekeeping.' This 18th C. velvet and silver parasol belonging to Empress Mentewab was, according to the museum, illegally taken to England but bought at auction in 1991 and returned to Ethiopia.
This and other large stone female figures were thought to have been fertility symbols of a pre-Judaic religion. It was interesting that the figures had braided hair identical to the style worn by modern Ethiopian women.