Tigray Mountain Churches Tour
Tigray Mountain Churches Tour – There are more than 125 rock-hewn churches in Tigray that are registered and known to be built from the 4th-15th century.
Every church has its own oral tradition regarding its excavation, in many cases the church is dated to the reign of Abreha-we-Astebeha the twin Emperors of Axum who converted to Christianity in the middle of the 4th century.
There are a number of explanation given as to why the rock-hewn churches of Tigrai were so often carved in to relatively inaccessible cliff face, was it for security, or for spiritual isolation, or simply because cliff face are inherently good place to carve churches and cliff face are inherently inaccessible.
Some of the most femous churches located in a magnificent mountains are Abune Yemata Guh and the Korkor mountains. we operate tours to the destinations and the tour to Tigray mountains can be don on a day trip from Mekele or overnight and 3 days.
Abune Yemata Guh
Abune Yemata is one of the most majestic and awesome churches in Gheralta mountains around 15km south of Hawzen town. About 30 minutes walk to the foot of the perpendicular rock mountains of Guh. The interior of the church can be reached after climbing 5m tall vertical pillars which is approximately 250m to 300m high cliff. This rock is notable for its extensive and perfectly preserved wall and ceiling frescoes of Old and New Testament stories, thought to date from the 15th century but local priest believe from 6th century A.D. The annual festival is taken place on the 8th November.
Debre Mariam Korkor
It is one of the biggest and most complex rock-hewn churches of Tigray . About 1 and ½ hours walk and climb from the village of Megab and it brings you to the white washed faced of a built structure church facing to the West. The interior part of this church is decorated with magnificent paintings such as paintings depicting Archangel Raphael which is reported by Gerster to be “similar to the painting in the cathedral church of Faras”. And another painting on the Western wall shows the Virgin Mery with a circle around her abdomen which according Ivy Pearce indicates the development of Christ in Utero and such a theme was commen one in 17th century Byzantine art.
Daniel Korkor a smaller rock church with only 2 rooms which its ceiling of the domed anteroom is decorated with primitive paintings is a minutes’ walk apart.
Abreha we Atsbeha
Is one of the best and largest of the rock-hewn churches of Tigray situated 15km West of Wukro. Considered to be among the country’s earlist churches which is according to the local tradition the church was constructed in the 4th century, but some scholars estimated its date of construction to be on the 10th century but the certain is that it is built well before rock churches in Lalibela, where the level of sophistication of rock architecture reached its peak. This church is dedicated to the famous kings of Axum, the two brothers Abreha & Atsbeha who adopted Christianity in the 4th century. It is known for its extraordinary interior decoration as well as its magnificent murals from 17th century. It has a prayer cross which belongs to Abba Freminatos the 1st bishop of Ethiopia whose Ecclesiastical name was Abba Selama (father of peace). It is the site of annual pilgrimage (14th of October).