Ethiopia: Familiar, Exotic Churches

African Update – 31/12/11

A visit to an Ethiopian church can be a confusing experience for Westerners. There they find the Christian religion they know from back home, but it comes in an exotic form which is sometimes reminiscent of, say, India.

Then again in some respects Ethiopian Christians resemble Muslims. The atmosphere in the churches is informal, and the way people dress and pray is similar - they kneel down and touch the floor with their foreheads.

Ethiopians are proud of their history, and particularly of the fact that they were never colonised. Northern Ethiopia's Christian culture dates back to long before the colonial period, to the fourth century A.D. On religious holidays such as Christmas and Epiphany thousands of pilgrims gather in holy places like Axum and Lalibela. To reach these locations, some walk for days along age-old footpaths crisscrossing the Ethiopian highlands.

All churches have a sanctum which only priests are allowed to enter. It houses a copy of the Ark of the Covenant, the Ten Commandments chiselled in stone with which Moses confirmed the covenant between God and man.

The Ethiopians claim that they possess the original ark, stored in a chapel of St Mary's Church in Axum. Thousands of pilgrims flock to the church and the chapel every year, gazing at the chapel through an iron gate. Tourists are not even allowed near the place, a measure allegedly taken after two tourists climbed the gate to go and take a close look at the Ark.


Upcoming AIC events
There are no upcoming events at the moment.
Book of the month

Xoliswa Ndoyiya: Ukutya Kwasekhaya

Xoliswa Ndoyiya: Ukutya KwasekhayaTastes from Nelson Mandela’s kitchen

A collection of recipes by Nelson Mandela's personal chef, this book contains the food served to visiting heads of state, celebrities, politicians for more than 20 years. Featuring some of the favourite former South African president's favourite meals including samp and beans, farm chicken, tripe, this book also features paella, peri-peri chicken, prawn curry, and myriad of other delights. With simple, delicious and nourishing recipes, it will interest those who wish to prepare meals that are both elegant and healthy.More

New arrivals

New titles in our library 12/2016

Our library has aquired a number of new and interesting books. Here is the list of the latest titles.

  • Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith
  • Fashion Cities Africa by Hannah Azieb Pool
  • Frantz Fanon: Toward a Revolutionary Humanismby Christopher Lee
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty by Robinson, James A., Acemoglu, Daron
  • Shakespeare in Swahililand: Adventures With the Ever-Living Poet by Edward Wilson-Lee
  • A History of Modern Africa: 1800 to the Present by Richard J. Reid
  • Authentically African: Arts and the Transnational Politics of Congolese Culture by Sarah Van Beurden
  • Children in Slavery through the Ages by by Gwyn CampbellSuzanne MiersJoseph C. Miller
  • Global Health in Africa: Historical Perspectives on Disease Control by Tamara Giles-Vernick
  • Rumba on the River: A History of the Popular Music of the Two Congos by Gary  Stewart
  • Women and Slavery, Vol. 1: Africa, the Indian Ocean World, and the Medieval North Atlantic by Gwyn Campbell
  • Women and Slavery, Vol. 2: The Modern Atlantic by Gwyn Campbell
  • Cahier d'un Retour Au Pays Natal by Aimé Cesaire
  • Healing Traditions: African Medicine, Cultural Exchange and Competition in South Africa, 1820-1948 by Karen Elizabeth  Flint
  • Global Education Policy and International Development: New Agendas, Issues and Policies by Antoni Verger
  • Black Skin, White Coats: Nigerian Psychiatrists, Decolonization, and the Globalization of Psychiatry by Matthew M. Heaton

African information centre

Ječná 2, 120 00 Prague 2

Opening hours

Tuesday, Thursday: 2 – 6 pm

Humanitas Afrika, občanské sdružení

We're supported by:

Pokladní systémy

Hl. m. Praha Česká rozvojová agentura

Fair Trade Logo

AIC je prodejním místem
produktů fairtrade

Our partners: