St George Cathedral & Museum
Institute of Language Studies
Institute of Language Studies teaches three Ethiopian languages (Amharic, Tigrinya and Orominya). Classes last four months and cost...
City Hall Theatre & Cultural Centre
A plush 1000-seat place in the Piazza, which shows productions on Tuesday and Friday. Sometimes there’s traditional Ethiopian music on...
Lucy Gazebo & Restaurant
Next to the National Museum and a favourite haunt of locals, expats and museum-visiting tourists, this bright and airy restaurant with...
Fitawrari Gebeyehu St · interesting places nearby
St George Cathedral & Museum information
Commissioned by Emperor Menelik II to commemorate his stunning 1896 defeat of the Italians in Adwa, and dedicated to St George (Ethiopia’s patron saint), whose icon was carried into the battle, this Piazza cathedral was completed in 1911 with the help of Greek, Armenian and Indian artists. Empress Zewditu (in 1916) and Emperor Haile Selassie (in 1930) were both crowned here.
Thanks to its traditional octagonal form and severe neoclassical style, the grey stone exterior is easily outdone by the interior’s flashes of colour and art. Sections of ceiling glow sky-blue and boast gilded golden stars, while the outer walls of the Holy of Holies are covered in paintings and mosaics by artists such as the renowned Afewerk Tekle.
In the grounds just north of the cathedral is the museum . It’s well presented and contains probably the best collection of ecclesiastical paraphernalia in the country outside St Mary of Zion in Aksum. Items include beautiful crowns, hand crosses, prayer sticks, holy scrolls, ceremonial umbrellas and the coronation garb of Zewditu and Haile Selassie. Entry includes a guided tour of both the museum and church. Try to get Archdeacon Mebratu to be your guide. He’s very entertaining – maybe the most amusing and informative church guide we’ve had anywhere in Ethiopia – and liable to burst into song and dance, and get you to do likewise, at the drop of a hat.