Tigray region, located in the far northeast of Ethiopia, is a breath-taking destination to explore with mountainous, fairy-tale landscapes and extraordinary churches. It’s sure to be a real highlight of your Yared Tour in Ethiopia, and probably one of the wildest travel adventures you’ll ever have.
The rock-hewn churches of Tigray
Tigray’s 120-ish rock-hewn churches are one of Ethiopia’s best kept secrets and some of the oldest and most preserved places of Orthodox worship in the country. Until the 1960s the churches were almost completely unknown outside of Tigray. Found in the rocky landscapes between the cities of Mekele and Axum, many of the churches are built at great heights (2300m above sea level) on remote plateaus, hidden in caves and only partially separated from the host rocks (semi-monolithic). Inside they are filled with colourful religious murals and ancient artefacts. Priests and devout Orthodox Christians scale the mountains every week including mothers with babies strapped to their backs who climb to worship and baptise their newborns in the special churches. To see is to believe!
There are more than 120 churches within the Tigray region divided into five groups – the most impressive ones not to miss are: Daniel Korkor, Debre Maryam Korkor and Abuna Yemata Guh – all largely hidden in caves, up mountains located in the Gheralta cluster near to Hawzen and therefore also easier to access. To reach and explore these fascinating rock churches you ideally need 1-2 days. Yared Tour & Travel Ethiopia will organise your guide, scout and 4x4 transport to get there and onwards to your next destination. Quite a bit of walking and a fair amount of climbing, as well as a good sense of adventure and some Dutch courage but you’ll be rewarded with huge sweeping views and an insight into Africa’s most ancient Christian world.