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Debre Libanos, Debre Libanos

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Debre Libanos (Amharic: ደብረ ሊባኖስ, Oromo: Dabra libanose) is an Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo monastery, lying northwest of Addis Ababa in the North Shewa Zone of the Oromia Region. It was founded in 1284 by Saint Tekle Haymanot as Debre Atsbo and was renamed as Debre Libanos in the 15th century. He meditated in a cave above the current monastery 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 (the Blue Nile). 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 Abbay. In the late 20th century a road was laid from the main Addis Ababa – Debre Markos highway to the monastery; it is a little more than 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) long.
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  • We did this with a friends of staffs in UN base din Addis & the place is really amazing and worthy to see,We come to this monastery with an agent in Adddis Ababa AMna Ethiopia Tours and he managed... 
    We did this with a friends of staffs in UN base din Addis & the place is really amazing and worthy to see,We come to this monastery with an agent in Adddis Ababa AMna Ethiopia Tours and he managed...  more »
  • This monastery is approx. 2-3 hrs' drive from Addis Ababa. Visited it as part of a day tour. Wouldn't have made the effort just to visit this alone. Note that certain people are restricted from... 
    This monastery is approx. 2-3 hrs' drive from Addis Ababa. Visited it as part of a day tour. Wouldn't have made the effort just to visit this alone. Note that certain people are restricted from...  more »
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  • Debre Libanos Monastery is an Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo monastery, lying northwest of Addis Ababa in the North Shewa Zone of the Oromia Region. It was founded in 1284 by Saint Tekle Haymanot as Debre Asbo and was renamed as Debre Libanos in the 15th century. He meditated in a cave above the current monastery for 29 years. It takes 2 and half to 3 hours to drive to the Monastery from Addis Ababa after you get out of city, the journey through rural Ethiopia is fascinating in itself. There is museum building on the left as you go through the entrance gates if you want to visit inside main church building and museum. There is a full service going on there is a rule makes you walk around even during the service but remember to observe the obvious etiquette with shoes off at door, head and arms fully covered for ladies (there are also rules about ladies not having access if it is there time of month as per all Christian Orthodox churches). Men on right and women on the left worshipping but as long as you are respectful the monks (men and women) were happy for you to walk around both sides and courteously take pictures. The museum is quite interesting full of artefacts and has the original history.
  • Debre Libanos Saint Tekle Haimanot monastery Founded in the 13th century by Tekle Haymanot. However, none of the original buildings of Debre Libanos survived due to several and repeated blows from various attackers including the invasion of Ahmad Gragn. The current church building, standing over the tomb of Saint Tekle Haymanot, was constructed by Emp. Haile Selassie in 1961

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