Tour – Trek in the Gheralta landscapes
Duration – 4 nights and 4 days
Transportation – Trek, Drive and Flight
Accommodation – 1*, 2* and 3* hotels and best lodge
Tour Code: ATT-TR-0050
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
- Gheralta Range, known for the Rock-Hewn Churches and breathtaking landscape
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 Dejatch Abraha 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 Tigrayan 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 – DRIVE WUKRO AND TREK TO ABRHA ATSBEHA
After early breakfast, walk and trek for 3 hours to the direction. Stop to visit Abreha we Atsbeha. This church was believed to be built in the 4th century by two royal brothers, Abreha Atsbeha, who were responsible for converting Axumite Empire to Christianity. The church is large and cruciform in shape, with interesting architectural features such as cruciform pillars and stepped capitals. There are also well preserved 17th century paintings depicting saints and biblical scenes. The church contains many valuable masterpieces including a beautifully decorated prayer cross, said to have belonged to Frumentius, the first Bishop of Ethiopia, whose ecclesiastical name was Abba Selama, meaning the father of peace. While trekking and walking, you will stop at farmer’s house, schools and community centers to share and experience their culture and way of living. Finally, stay the night in a camp around the church or the village.
DAY 3 – TREK TO DEBRETSION ABUNE ABRHAM
After an early breakfast, start trekking and walking to the direction of Dugum town. On your way, stop at villages, schools, agricultural fields and community centers to share their knowledge and experience their way of living and culture. On arrival at Debre Tsion Elementary School for your overnight base camp. After a lunch break, start a gentle 50 minutes walk to visit Debre Tsion Abrham church and it can be reached on the top of the steep mountain. The church is entirely from a living hewn which is referred to as Abune Abreham, after the monk who founded it. The interior part of the church is decorated with fine paintings which are estimated to be from 15th century for the reasons of the simplicity of their lines and colors. But, according to some other writers and the church itself is thought to be from 14th century. It has a unique circular ceremonial fun with 1m diameter and wooden framework which its 34 panels are painted with figures of apostles from 15th century. And it also has a small domed room with decorated wall with many geometrical designs and carvings depicting Angels & Saints which is considered to have served as Abune Abreham’s prayer room. Its annual festival is taken place on the 21st of Hidar (30th of November in most years).
DAY 4 – TREK TO ABUNE YEMATA (GUH)
After a morning breakfast, trek to Abune Yemata, one of the best known of the “Rock Churches“ in the Gheralta Range with colorful paintings of the new and old testament. Climbing up to the church takes 40 minutes and the view is breathtaking. The church is dated to the late Axumite period around 7th – 8th century AD and the ceiling is decorated with painted domes of saints. Ascending and descending is an adventure by itself. Finally, drive either to Axum or Mekelle.