The city of Ankober, located 42 Km east of Debre Birhan had played an important role in the country’s history as being a strategic site in the struggle between highland and lowland emperors as early as the 13th century. The fact that the city controlled most trade routes from the lowlands and from the Red Sea port of Zeila added an economic strength to Ankober, which flourished as the capital of the great region of Showa and its kings even in the turbulent time of the Zemene Mesafint. A notable Showan King of the time was King Sahle Selassie (1813-1847), Emperor Menelik’s grandfather who built the Church of Mikael which is a major attraction in Ankober.
The Saturday market at Aliyu Amba on the outskirts of the city and the Zinjero Gedel escarpments which offer magnificent scenery are worth taking a look at as part of a daytrip to Ankober which is a 175 Km drive north east of Addis Abeba. Ankober was Menelik II’s capital before he moved to Entoto. Ankober Palace Lodge is known for its kingly treatment of its guests and brings the feel of ancient Ankober to life.