Tucked away in the heart of the Piazza, the old Italian district of Addis Ababa, lies the enchanting St. George Cathedral, one of Addis’ most beloved treasures. The St. George Cathedral was commissioned by Emperor Menelik II to commemorate his extraordinary defeat of the Italians who fought to take over Ethiopia in 1896. The victory marked a huge success for Ethiopia. The nation was able to retain their sovereignty and today remains one of the few countries in Africa that has never been colonized.
The church was designed by Greek, Armenian and Indian artists and completed in 1911 named in the honor of St. George, the patron saint of Ethiopia, whose relic was actually carried in the 1896 battle against the Italians in Adwa.
Today, St. George cathedral and its museum are important places for Orthodox Christians and tourists alike to visit. While the outside of the cathedral is rather striking in its neoclassical, octagon-shaped structure, the inside is a true delight of brilliant stained-glass windows, colorful religious paintings and carpets. The museum next door holds some of the ancient relics of the church where the Empress Zewditu and Emperor Haile Selaisse were crowned.
Inside the church, is a peaceful solitary oasis from the hectic, chaotic energy of Addis Ababa. The stained glass windows and religious artwork are breathtaking.
Outside the cathedral, people were relaxing with friends and reading quietly on benches around the lovely square. I loved the gorgeous blooming trees that reached for as far as the eye could see.
As you leave the tranquility of St. George’s cathedral and step out in the Piazza, there are vendors selling their wares, cafes and restaurants reminding you of the Italian influence. A stop at the famous Tomoca cafe is a must for perhaps the best expresso in all of Addis.
This post is inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic. To see more entries, click here.