Also known as Menelik’s Mausoleum, the Beta Maryam Mausoleum is located just south of Menelik’s palace in Addis Ababa and offers a pleasantly eerie experience for visitors.
Beta Maryam from the outside:
The entrance to Beta Maryam:
The church interior:
After the priest has rolled up the carpet and pried open the large metal door in the floor, you will descend into the thick air of the creepy crypt. There you will find four elaborate marble tombs of Empress Taitu (for whom our hotel was named), Emperor Menelik, Empress Zewditu and Princess Tsehai Haile Selassie.
The rain was absolutely hammering down outside and so after emerging from the crypt, we stayed inside the church with many others to take refuge from the intense weather:
During the rainstorm, the priests were rushing outside with any container they could find to fill it with water. Through a process they were extremely vague about, this water is somehow magically transformed into “holy water” which they then sell to fools devout followers of Christ for a dear price.
This intense and off-putting focus on the acquisition of wealth was, unfortunately, a common theme among all of the churches we visited in Ethiopia:
At closing time, the rain was still beating down and the surrounding streets and courtyards were small lakes. So, we huddled under the eaves of Beta Maryam waiting and hoping that the rain would let up a little (It didn’t).
These are some pictures I took of the people that were present while we were waiting:
Self-appointed guides will circle like sharks at Beta Maryam (and any place like it) seeking to extract as much money as possible from any visiting foreigners. This is the one that attached himself to us: