Ethiopia to Cape Town 2013

8 months - with Gitane - Toyota Hiace 4x4 van

Tigray region

November 30, 2013  —  Ethiopia
Tigray region - Ethiopia

The Tigray is a large region northeast of the country. It is a semi-arid zone known for its magnificent churches and spectacular landscapes. In this area, like everywhere in Ethiopia, there are numerous orthodox churches.

In the Tigray, several of them are magnificent because of the paintings and the architecture that they shelter, but also for their location. Sometimes, a vertical rock walls must be climbed for several metres to reach the church. This climb by itself, surrounded by fabulous scenery, is well worth going there.

We only visited a few churches among the most famous ones. The three churches presented below are all in the Gueralta cluster.

Tigray region - Ethiopia
Tigray region - Ethiopia
Tigrayans are mostly farmers.
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Maryam Korkor church

Maryam Korkor Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia

Maryam Korkor church and Tigrayan churches have a different architecture than those of Lalibela. The latter were hewn entirely in the rock while those of Tigray are only partly hewn in the rock. In the Tigray, craftsmen carved part of a church in a cavern and the rest was built on the outside.

The result is also very impressive, and these churches often blend in the surrounding environment. Sometimes, several walls have been built, at other times, only a small door provides access to the cave that has been converted into a richly decorated church.

Maryam Korkor Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia

Maryam Korkor shelters paintings made by different artists. These paintings date from the 13th to the 17th depending on the work.

Maryam Korkor Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Maryam Korkor Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Maryam Korkor Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Wall paintings.
Maryam Korkor Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Maryam Korkor Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Tigray region - Ethiopia
View from the church.
Tigray region - Ethiopia
Climbing toward the church.
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Daniel Korkor church

Daniel Korkor Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia

On the opposite of the mountain, behind Maryam Korkor, there is a tiny church on the edge of an impressive cliff. The cliff drops several hundred metres down.

Daniel Korkor (or Abouna Daniel) also contains some very nice paintings.

Daniel Korkor Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Daniel Korkor Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Daniel Korkor Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Tigray region - Ethiopia
View from the church.
Tigray region - Ethiopia
Daniel Korkor Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
The priest of both churches.
Tigray region - Ethiopia
Going down on the way back.
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Abouna Yemata Guh church

Tigray region - Ethiopia

We visited another magnificent church in this rock mass. Once again, going up was impressive and the help of a scout was needed to know how to climb the rock wall. This place is not recommended for those suffering from vertigo.

The paintings in this church date from the 15th to the 16th century. They represent, among others, the Syrian saints that evangelized the country in the 6th century and the brother of the Christ (yes, indeed, a brother?).

Abuna Yemata Guh Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Gitane in front of the church.
Abuna Yemata Guh Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
The ceiling.
Abuna Yemata Guh Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Abuna Yemata Guh Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Abuna Yemata Guh Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Abuna Yemata Guh Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Abuna Yemata Guh Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Abuna Yemata Guh Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Abuna Yemata Guh Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Abuna Yemata Guh Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
Abuna Yemata Guh Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
The entrance door to the church.
Abuna Yemata Guh Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
View from the door.
Abuna Yemata Guh Church - Tigray region - Ethiopia
The anteroom's wall in front of the church.
Tigray region - Ethiopia
View from the church.
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Landscapes in the region

Tigray region - Ethiopia
Tigray region - Ethiopia
Tigray region - Ethiopia
Tigray region - Ethiopia
Tigray region - Ethiopia