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Trip Planner Africa  /  Ethiopia  /  Oromiya Region  /  Debre Libanos

Debre Libanos

4.2
Sacred & Religious Sites · Bridges
Debre Libanos is a monastery in Ethiopia, lying northwest of Addis Ababa in the Semien Shewa Zone of the Oromia Region. Founded in the 13th century by Saint Tekle Haymanot, according to myth, he meditated in a cave for 29 years. The monastery's chief abbot, called the Ichege, was the second most powerful official in the Ethiopian Church after the Abuna.The monastery complex sits on a terrace between a cliff and the gorge of one of the tributaries of the Abbay River. None of the original buildings of Debre Libanos survive, although David Buxton suspected "there are interesting things still to be found among the neighbouring cliffs." Current buildings include the church over Tekle Haymanot's tomb, which Emperor Haile Selassie ordered constructed in 1961; a slightly older Church of the Cross, where Buxton was told a fragment of the True Cross is preserved; and five religious schools. The cave where the saint lived is in the nearby cliffs, which one travel guide describes as a five-minute walk away. This cave contains a spring, whose water is considered holy and is the object of pilgrimages.According to David Buxton, the original route to Debre Libanos was through a cleft in the cliffs that line the eastern side of the Abay. In the later 20th century a road was laid from the main Addis Ababa – Debre Marqos highway to the monastery; it is a little more than four kilometers long.
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