Duration – 4 nights and 4 days
Transportation – Drive and flight
Accommodation – 3* hotels and best lodge
Tour Code: ATT-HIS-0054
This is a four days trek and drive to the Cultural and Historic Tigrai tour with-in Tigrai which passes through the scenic highlands of Tigrai, visiting the historic, political, cultural and religious destinations of Tembein and Gheralta. The trip covers mainly the following attraction sites:
- Tembein, undiscovered hidden churches in the mountains and ones TPLF/EPRDF leadership office
- Gheralta Range, known for the Rock-Hewn Churches and breathtaking landscape
DAY 1- DRIVE TEMBIEN
The drive will pass through the historical land mark of the birth place of the two famous Heros of the country, Empror Yohannis IV and Ras Alula Aba Nega. Proceed driving to the churches of Chiksilassie and Kidane Mihret which are found in the village of Agbe. These churches are special because it is said to be one of the best monastic place in the area and the location by itself is situated somewhere in forest and running water all year round. The second church is a rock church and it’s well designed with geometrical figures and the first church is circular built church is fully decorated with 18 and 19th C paintings is exceptional to the area. The churches are said to be one of the places where you will find precious church treasures. Later, drive to botanical garden of May Lomin. My Lomin is an ideal place for relaxation and the garden is rich in indigenous trees and birds as well.
DAY 2 – DRIVE TO ABA YOHANNI AND TREK TO GEBRIEL WUKIEN
Drive to Abba Yohanni is a monastery which was named after the monk who founded it and is situated in about 8km off the main road, and local road goes 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. 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).
Later, trek 10 kms to Gabriel Wukien about 3 hours max and some across the field and further 10-min ascent of the mountain side .It is architecturally important church which is free, on all sides, from the mother rock. Its pillars and the beams connecting them are beautiful. The Architecture of Tigrai, “The church is undoubtedly the most remarkable church in Tembien”.
DAY 4 – DRIVE TO GHREALTA
After a morning breakfast, trek through the beautiful country side and the former military basement of the TPLF during the civil war period. Then after crossing the Werie River, where the traditional gold mining area, you will proceed to Mariam Hibito (the Hiden Rock church of Mary). To get access to the church you will drive till you reach the village of Mai Beha and then you need to walk for 30minutes .This church is said to be excavated during the 14th CAD on deep to the red rock well decorated with geometrical figures and there is Holly water that comes out of the church all the year round. After your visit of the church you will come back to your car and drive to the next small village for tea or coffee
After a lunch break, drive to Abune Gebre Michael. The church is situated south of Abune Yamata (Guh), about 15 km from Megab. Considered one of the best and finest churches in Gheralta, this church’s cruciform plan is hewn beautifully into a dome like rock. Its features good frescoes and carefully carved columns, pillars, cupolas and arches. The interior part of the church is abundantly decorated with marvelous paintings and murals are worth visiting. Finally, you will have a base camp for your overnight.
DAY 4 – DRIVE AND TREK TO ABUNE YEMATA
Having an early breakfast drive and 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 but ascending and descending is an adventure by itself. The church is dated to the late Axumite period around 7th – 8th century AD and the ceiling is decorated with painted domes of saints. Finally, drive either to Axum or Mekelle.