St. George’s Cathedral, Addis Ababa

Feature Image Source: Ondřej Žváček, Under GNU Free Documentation License,ála_sv._Jiří.jpg

St. George’s Cathedral sits on the roundabout that connects Gebeyehu Street and 3 street. The building is in the city centre and is surrounded by trees. The building was built in the late 19th century, likely in 1896, and has been one of the most important churches in the city, (source). The church was also the royal church for House of Solomon, (source). Both Empress Zewditu and Emperor Haile Selassie were crowned in the Cathedral, 1917 & 1930 respectively, (source).

The Cathedral is a traditional octagonal-shaped church with three concentric rings. The most central part known as the Holy of Holies. This area is reserved for Priests and Kings. The second ring is the ‘Qddist’ which is reserved for those receiving their Holy Communion. The third ring is for the choir and other churchgoers, men and women are divided by a small partition, (source). This is a relatively common church layout and priests rotate while they preach to all sides of the church. The church seat about 200 people, (source).

The exterior of the building is Neo-classical in style. The building has three levels, the base, dome base and dome. The building’s base has 20 arched windows, all embossed in a columned window sill. These windows allow light to flood into the building. Each door has a triangular pediment, denoting its importance, (source).

Source: A.Davey, Under Creative Commons,

Above this, the dome base sits. The facade is further back and this level is much more closed of, having only 24 small rosary windows. At the top, we find a frieze that is devoid of ornamentation, (source). The final level is the dome level. This level again recedes and creates a small tower on which the dome stands. This dome has large rounded plate tracery windows that light the building’s central most spaces, (source). The is roofed in metal plates and an intricate spire adorns its top.

Source: Jens Klinzing, Under Creative Commons,

The floor of the building is carpeted as people are expected to take off their shoes in the church. The walls of the outer most ring are painted in sober colours without much ornamentation. The inner two rings are much more richly decorated, depicting biblical scenes. It is a great example of orthadox church buildings in Ethiopia.


IHBC. (n.d.-a). Frieze – Designing Buildings Wiki. Retrieved September 26, 2018
IHBC. (n.d.-b). Pediment – Designing Buildings Wiki. Retrieved September 26, 2018
Sacred-Destinations. (n.d.). St. George’s Cathedral – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Retrieved September 26, 2018
Tamene, G. (1998). FEATURES OF THE ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH AND THE CLERGY. Retrieved September 26, 2018
Wikipedia contributors. (2018, September 25a). St. George’s Cathedral, Addis Ababa – Wikipedia. Retrieved September 26, 2018
Wikipedia contributors. (2018, August 18b). Tracery – Wikipedia. Retrieved September 26, 2018
Wikipedia contributors. (2018, September 26c). Zewditu – Wikipedia. Retrieved September 26, 2018


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