Tigray and Gheralta Churches

The Tigray region has plenty more, older ones, with more paintings, special architecture; remote locations….Over 125 rock hewn churches are recorded with Tigray-alone. These churches date from 4th-15th century. Most of them are visited around the Gheralta chained mountains. Others are found in eastern and southern Tigray.

Gheralta, northwest of Mekelle, the capital of Tigray, is the home of a quarter of the rock churches, some famous for their stone workmanship, ancient paintings and old manuscripts, and others known for their magnificent view and difficult ascent. Some four hours drive from Axum-plus a further two hours, stiff uphill walk from the road ends – lies the monastery of Debre Damo, situated on a cliff top in one of the wildest part of Tigray.

The scenery of Gheralta is spectacular. The view of the graceful mount Gheralta and the far-reaching Hawzien plain is a rare combination of extraordinary beauty.

  1. Driving from Axum to Hawzain will let you to visit the churches of Abba Gerima, Abba Afse and Debre Damo,
  2. as a base from Hawzain one can visit
  • Megab churches (8kms from Hawzain): Abune Yemata, Mariam Korkure, Daneil korkure, Abune Gebre Mikael
  • Dugem churches (8kms from Megab): Dugem Sellasie, Debre Tsion Abune Abreham, Yohanis Makudi, and churches that can be visited by trekking Maryam Papaseiti, Maryam Arefeda
  1. on your way to Wukro from Hawzain visit the churches of Mikael Minda’e, Abreha We Asbeha & Wukro Cherkos,
  2.  on your way to Wukro from Adigrat visit
  • Gebreil Tesilalmao, Adi Chewa Arbuta Insesa, Mikael Beit Mahar 
  • Teka Tesfai clusterTseada Imba churches: Petros we Paulos, Mikael Milhaizengi, & Medhanialem Adi Kersho,
  1. Using wukro as a base visit churches to the East of Wukro/ Atsbi clusters: Mikael Barka, Debre Selam Mikael and Mikael Imba.
  2. Tembein: churches around Abi Aday: Abba YohanniGebriel WukienMaryam Hibeti and Emanuel Maibaha.

Tours of the Tigray rock- churches can be given either in combination with the Historic route or separately with exclusive request of travellers. It is also possible to combine the Danakil Depression, Erta ale and the Tigray rock-churches as an adventure and off- the beaten truck package.