Surrounding Axum

tombThere are several places of interest within few kilometers from Axum. The most noticeable is the temple of Yeha. It is the single most remarkable antiquity and a well preserved 12m high stone temple that is thought to be over 2,500 years old. The ancient clifftop monastery of Debre Damo is also impressive. To get the church is only accessible by ascending a 15m high cliff with the aid of a leather rope.  Within 25km east of Axum, the Adewa town and surrounding hills is also remarkable. This is the place where Emperor Menelik II defeated the Italian army on March 1 1896, there by ending Italy’s attempts to colonize Ethiopia.

Temple of Yeha

Yeha Temple 540 BC, TigrayIt is an important pre-Axumite archaeological site mainly known by the large square temple and dated to 500B.C. The temple was built using stone blocks without mortar, and is supposed to be the oldest building in Ethiopia. The ruins of the temple consist of a single roofless oblong chamber. The remaining one wall of the temple is still standing to a height of 12 meters. Many stone-carved inscriptions were also discovered in and around Yeha. They are most likely the earliest inscriptions that have ever been discovered in Ethiopia.

Debre Damo Monastery

debre damoDebre Damo monastery is situated on an isolated mountain in northern part of Tigray. It is unique compared with most Ethiopian monasteries. Debre Damo was built, in the 6th century AD, with curved wood panels, painted ceilings and walls dedicated to the legend of Saint (Abune) Aregawi. The history of Debre Damo is centered on the "Nine Saints" who came to Ethiopia from Syria to spread Christianity in the Tigray region. One of them was Saint Aregawi who settled on the mountain of Debre Damo. The other eight saints settled around Tigray countryside and all have their own church named after them.

Debre Damo is only accessible by climbing up by a rope, which is made of "plaited leather", lowered from the cliffs, which visitors tie around their waist and are then pulled up by a monk at the top of the cliffs. It is only accessible to men and male animals. Women and even female animals are forbidden to set a foot into the monastery, and must remain under the cliffs and pray from there.

Al  Negashi

negashiIt is a Muslim site in Wukro, considered by some believers as the first Isalmic settlement in Ethiopia. It is said to have been established in the 7th century following the coming of refugees (followers of Prophet Muhammd). In the site, there are tombs and recently constructed mosque. The tower of the mosque affords a nice view of the surrounding countryside.


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