Duration – 4 nights and 4 days
Transportation – Drive and Flight
Accommodation – 1*, 2* and 3* hotels and best lodge
This is a Four days Cultural and Historic Tigrai tour with-in Tigrai which passes through the scenic highlands of Tigrai, visiting the historic, archaeological, political, cultural and religious destinations of Tigrai . The trip covers mainly the following attraction sites:
- Mekelle, the political, Socio-Economic, religious and event center of Tigrai
- Chelekot, the nearest built church famous for its treasure collection and housed the body of the wife Emperor Tewodros
- Eyesus Hintsa, the only rock church worth visiting near to Mekelle in a day trip.
- Tembein, one of the best destination in rock churches in the mountains.
DAY 1 – MEKELLE CITY TOUR
After a relaxed morning breakfast, take a city tour of Mekelle, founded by Emperor Yohannes IV as his capital, after he relocated his power base from Debra Berhane, to Mekele in 1881. Mekele is also the capital city of the Tigray National Regional State. Late this afternoon we will take a Mekelle City Tour. We will view to the impressive DejatchAbraha Castle built in the heart of the city around 1906. Today the castle is a hotel. We will also stop to visit the Hawelti (Monument of the Martyrs) erected to dignify the valiant fighters who sacrificed themselves to emancipate their people from the dictatorial military regime (1974-1991). The artistic tower, spiraling more than 100 feet above the ground and mounted by a large ball, is visible through much of Mekele. This is the centerpiece of the large war memorial. The memorial is modern and engrossing. As you enter, on each side, there are larger than life figures representing the victims and victors of the war. Appropriately black and stick like, the figures include mothers and children trekking out from the famine, several of them not making it. With them are the hardy Tigrain fighters, machine guns over their backs and trusty donkeys in tow. These peasant fighters overcame the Soviet backed might of the Derg military regime.
Later after a lunch break, we will visit historical Atse Yohannes IV Palace, which is named after the famous King who ruled Ethiopia from 1872 to 1889. Emperor Yohannes chose Mekele as the seat of his government and built his graceful palace, still intact, in the 1870s. The palace now serves as a museum and is highlighted by the Emperor’s throne, the royal bed, his ceremonial dress, rifles, and many other valuable historical collections. The fantastic throne of Atse Yohannnes IV was made by the Italian engineer Giacomo Nareri in 1874 and it is the eye catching centerpiece of the museum.
DAY 2 – EXCURSION TO SILASSIE CHELEKOT AND EYESUS HINTSA
After a morning breakfast, take an excursion trip to Silassie Chelekot and Eyesus Hintsa. Morning session visit the famous round built church of Silassie Chelekot, which was built by Ras Weldesilasse in the 1800s and painted color fully and contains valuable artifacts. Back to the city and drive to the beautiful market where one can see cattle, camels, donkeys, sheep and goats in the same place.
Later, proceed to the church of Eyesus Hintsa which is hewn out of a sand stone rock probably in the 14th century. Local tradition attributes its construction to Abune Abraham, a monk who is also said to have created Debre Tsion, one of the most elaborate churches of the Gheralta churches. The sheer size and elaboration of its carved architecture are striking. The church with rock-hewn entrance depicting a Greek cross has three doors and nine windows. Both openings have their exterior and interior scenes appearing circular and rectangular. The windows are made in such a way to allow enough light into the inner part of the church. The construction is executed following the Aksumite architectural styles. The church holds six free standing pillars that are well decorated. The ceiling too is incised with striking designs and patterns. Some carry cross and sun lights. It is also alternatively ornamented with Aksumite blind arches, identical to that of Gheralta rock-hewn churches.
DAY 3- DRIVE TEMBIEN
After a morning breakfast, drive to the direction of Tembein and en route stop to discuss about the life of Ras Alula Aba Nega the military leader of Ethiopia in the late 19th century. He is named as the general who defeated Italians in the battle of Adwa in 1896. Proceed to Tembein and take a lunch break, and in the afternoon visit Abba Yohanni which is a monastery which was named after the monk who founded it and is situated in about 8km off the main road. Another local road goes to within a few meters of the foot of Debre Assa, the mountain on which the church is built. This church is accessible only through a tunnel-like passage on its west side which is built in 1972/73. This church is classic in its decoration and supreme in its workmanship that one can see the beautiful interior of the church which is divided into four bays (which makes the church in exceptional feature) and three aisles by its arched columns and ceiling adorned by domes which themselves are decorated by finely carved crosses. And one can see a few recent paintings in the masonry depict the twelve Apostles. The annual festival takes place on the 5th of Hidar (14th of November in most years).
DAY 4- EXPLORE TEMBIEN
After a morning breakfast, drive This church can be reached after 40 minutes gentle walk east 18 kms to north of Abi Adi tovisit the church of Mariam Hibito. The church is not visible just like its name Mariam Hibiito (the Hidden Mary). In many aspects this church resembles to Medhanialem Adi Kosho based on this it is believed that this church is constructed after Medhanialem Adi Kosho and according to the tradition, it was built during the reign of Atse Zera Yacob in the 15th century. The exterior part of this church is easily imaginable that the carvers spent much time to beautify it and runs from the South end to the North end. In the interior part of the church one can see an unfinished dome-making and a pool of water which is always at the same level and its therapeutic effects are beyond belief, according to the priest of the church.
After a lunch break, drive to my Lomin for a relaxed afternoon. My Lomin an ideal place for relaxation as it is quite botanical garden and has many big old indigenous trees.