Lake Hayke & 13th century Istifanos Monastery

Istifanos Monastery (or St Stephen Monastery) is a monastery in Ethiopia, located in Lake Hayq. (The Stephen commemorated at the monastery is not the Saint Stephen of Acts.) The structure was built around an 8th century church of Axum origins by Emperor Yekuno Amlak to fulfill a promise he made to Iyasus Mo'a.

The monastery is responsible for producing five people, known as "Lights" (or important sources of knowledge and Christian salvation) of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. One of these Lights was Saint Tekle Haymanot, who was educated in this monastery, and helped to convert Shewa and other southern provinces by ministering and building churches.

Ankober & Emperor Menelik II Palace

Ankober was the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Shoa, with Merid Azmatch Amha Iyesus (1745-1775), a ruler descended from the Solomonic dynasty, credited as being the founder. His descendents ruled from Ankober for around a hundred years and a number of Shoan rulers are buried in churches in the area.

During the reign of Emperor Menelik II, Britain, France and Italy established diplomatic missions in Ankober, and the sites of their missions can still be distinguished. Menelik married Itegue Taytu at the Ankober Medhane Alem Church, where the golden wedding cloak is still kept. In 1886 Menelik decided to move the capital to its current location, Addis Ababa.

There are many famous Ethiopian Orthodox monasteries and churches in the area surrounding Ankober, including Mantiq a nearby monastery with Judeo-Christian traditions. The nineteenth century Catholic missionary, Aba Massayas, started missionary activities in neighboring Fiqre Gimb, making the area one of the most important historical centers of Catholicism in Ethiopia.

Ankober Palace hill overlooks the spectacular scenery of the Rift Valley, stretching from the Red Sea to the plains of Afar Region.