A place of the devout, a place that conjures the forever unrivaled heroism, troth and sacrifice.Have you ever witnessed a phenomenon that startled you so hard, that your jaw drops way down on the floor and you try to shake out of the enticing vision, but just couldn’t? A place of true wonderment, an ancient magnificence, a place of architectural excellence, home of rock hewn churches—Tigray, a city located in the most northern part of Ethiopia (Abyssinia), will without a doubt make you look like a little kid in a toy store. Its history goes way as far back as King Solomon and queen Sheba.
Tigray is the alpha and omega of Ethiopian ancient history. It is a place blessed with grandeur. Once you reach there, it’s as if there is a time portal in the midst of those mountains, in an instant you will be taken back in to the past. Amazing Christian obelisks, carved out of a single stone, tuning the viewer to the bygone. Numerous stone inscriptions, more than a hundred all unique and magnificent rock hewn churches, underground palaces, monasteries, imperial tombs.
THE LEGENDARY AXUM
It all began in Axum some three thousand years ago when queen Sheba ruled the region Tigray from its capital Axum.
Axum was the epicenter and base of the Axumite civilization. Legendary for its: Economic prosperity, architectural ingenuity and cultural vibrancy. The womb of many great historical places, the original church of Saint Mary of Tsion. It was the first church in sub-Saharan Africa and perhaps one of the earliest and most revered churches in the world.
A city whose numerous mysteries remain undecipherable. Kept secret original Ark of the Covenant of God, contains stone tablet, on which god himself inscribed the 10 commandments, from Jerusalem, after the visit to the holly city by Minilik I, son of King Solomon and queen Sheba. Since then the Ark was kept here, making Axum one of the most sacred cities on earth.
Axum is the base for visiting a number of religious and historical sites, including those in and around Yeha and Adwa.
YEHA THE SPECTACULAR
What you will see at Yeha is utterly remarkable. The temple of Yeha is thought to have been built in the eighth century before the birth of Christ, wow! And still standing for more than two and a half millennia. It is certainly the oldest building of sub-Saharan Africa.
ADWA— THE DEN OF THE REAL BLACK PANTHERS
It was perhaps the greatest mistake that the Italians made, thinking they could win because of their guns. War is about the heart. This place with no one’s reminding remembers those who bleed on it. This place roars pride into the souls of Abyssinians.
THE MARVELOUS ROCK HEWN CHURCHES
This churches are scattered all over Tigray to spice up the place, adding unmatchable beauty, from Gheralta to Tembian, from Atsby to Hawzien. The majority of the churches are however concentrated in Gheralta, a mountainous region known for its peerless natural gorgeousness.
Built in the sixth century, by King Gebre Meskel, Debre Damo is the country’s most renowned Monastery. Best known for its Christian scholarship, remote location and rich collection of ecclesiastical treasures, the monastery of Debre Damo stands out as a site of utterly genuine, authentic monastic life. Young monks from all corners of the country flock to Debre Damo in pursuit of wisdom. Still in the present day the monastery is viewed as the Harvard of Christian scholarship.
THE GHERALTA CLUSTER
A grouping of mountain ranges and spacious flat land. The most famous churches in the Gheralta cluster includes Debre Tsion, Abune Yemata Guh, Maryam Korkor and Daniel Korkor. This churches have several common characteristics. Especially their long kept and well preserved biblical figures. I think that in terms its location Abune Yemata Guh is just simply out of this world, also I must mention that Abuna Yemata Guh was recently visited by one of the most famous Hollywood celebrities, wait for it—Will Smith. However I must add that Abune Yemata Guh is difficult to access, carved out of a perpendicular cliff, only accessed by the natural hand grips and footholds. But no worries the people there are very helpful and of course you will have the ropes tied around you.
For once be in a real adventure, you owe it to yourself. Without a doubt worth the time, money, energy. Or even all of them collectively.