Churches surrounding the palace hill


St George's Church

Built in 1745 by Amha Iyas, founder of Ankober. His grave is in the building south of the church, another stone house houses the burial place of a former commander of Tigray, while Ras Mengesha other graves in the church grounds belong to former priests and nobilities that lived in the area. The large eucalyptus tree in the compound was planted by Menelik and the large olive tree by Sahle Sellassie. The small building to the left at the rear of the church is µBethlehem' where communion bread and wine is prepared, and there is strictly no entry. Next door is a small house where unmarried young men and boys are responsible for grinding wheat to make the holy bread. There are incredible panoramic views from behind St George's church all the way to Aliyo Amba.


St Maryam Church

Built in 1775 by Asfa Wossen, who is buried to the side of the church alongside Wosson Sagad. The circular building is the celebration house, containing the baptising font. The convent beyond the new priests meeting hall looks after orphaned girls and prepares bread, beer and araki (local alcohol) for celebrations. The people from Gonder were housed behind St Maryam so as to have easy and quick access to the King's High Court of Justice. (This is confusing: which people? When? The King's court has not yet been mentioned) The coffee caravan route to the Red Sea used to leave the village near St Maryam Church.


St Michael's Church

Built in 1825 by King Sahle Sellassie, the grand father of Emperor Haile Selassie, now houses his Tomb. This beautiful white washed church is a typical construction of churches around the country. There are very old olive and other hard wood trees in the compound. One often sees the black and white Columbus monkey on the branches of these trees. The church as many others, holds a range of ancient manuscripts and other ecclesiastic artefacts.


St Tekle Haymanot

Originally it was built as a wooden structure in 1839 by King Shale Selassie .In 2007 the owner of the Lodge reconstructed it in a traditional stone masonry in the style of 'ebre 'amot At the entrance of the compound take note of the big bell. This bell is a product o "Fonderie Paccard" of France. Paccard and co is the very company that manufactured the Liberty Bell of the United States of America. The area provides magnificent picturesque views over the Rift Valley.


Medhane Alem Church

Built in 1840 by Haile Melekot, Menelik's father. Menelik was crowned King in this church in 1865 and was also married to Itegue Taytu here . Medhane Alem Church was burned down during the Italian occupation, apparently after a bolt of lightening struck Italian soldiers who were smoking and drinking inside the church. Three Italians died in the flames, The three trees, still standing near the ruins, mark their burial place. There is a small museum in the compound that houses lots of treasures is worthy of a visit.