My book Why Religions Work explores religious tolerance issues. It could not be more relevant at the moment with the world in its present state.
This blog has concentrated recently on the wonderful pilgrimages I have been on - to the Holy Land and to Turkey and more recently to Holy Georgia , Greece "In the Steps of St Paul" , Ethiopia and most recently my experiences in Iran.

"If I was allowed another life I would go to all the places of God's Earth. What better way to worship God than to look on all his works?" from The Chains of Heaven: an Ethiopian Romance Philip Marsden

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Ethiopia - a pilgrimage - Addis Ababa National Museum

giant tortoises at the museum
 Addis Ababa has so very much to offer the tourist and we can only scratch its surface. Do go if you can and discover more of this great destination for yourself.

National Museum interior


We are on a pilgrimage to Ethiopia in search of the Ark of the Covenant - and we spend our first day on arrival in Addis Ababa exploring that city before we set off North to Tigrai and the first of the rock- hewn churches on our itinerary.
If you are in Addis Ababa the National Museum of Ethiopia is a must to visit. It is set in pleasant gardens with giant tortoises crawling among beautiful hibiscus bushes and flowering cannas, and with plenty of inspiring statues and sculptures, (including a statue of the great Russian poet Pushkin) Once inside it is organised over four floors.
naughty English!
Ethiopia hosts the most complete and richest source of human ancestry evidence - the Rift Valley has been a giant fossil trap for the last ten million years - and here is to be found the earliest record of stone tool making. This is admirably displayed in the paleoanthropology and prehistoric artefacts exhibition in the basement, where there is an excellently informative display of the famous Lucy, our earliest known human ancestor. This 3.5 million year old discovery has made us totally rethink the evolution of mankind. Basically our ancestors were walking 2.5 million years earlier than we had previously supposed. Lucy is so called because "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was played in the archaeologists' camp when the discovery was made. She is known as Dinquinesh to Ethiopians - meaning "thou art wonderful".
but it came back to Addis!
Ethnographic collection in need of labelling
Moving up from the basement to the ground floor we find a pre-Axumite to 20th century archaeological and historical heritage exhibit, including 2600 year old pre-Aksumite fertility statues; there is a traditional and modern display of Ethiopian works of art on the first floor, which I thoroughly enjoyed; and on the top floor we found a fascinating ethnographic collection, suffering sadly from a lack of decent labelling but interesting none-the-less. Don't expect the usual razzmatazz of Western museums - café, shop and decent toilets - but be fascinated by artefacts of a totally different culture, one which we shall have the pleasure of exploring further over the next ten days.

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