While a lot of emphasis is given to the likes of Axum and Lalibela as historical attractions in Ethiopia, little is said or written about the town of Yeha, which is just around 30 miles from Axum. As a result many tourists leave Ethiopia without visiting the town of Yeha.

The fact is the town of Yeha is home to the oldest standing building in Ethiopia, not only much older than the likes of Lalibela but also many historical sites that you find in Greece and Italy. The major attraction in Yeha is a pre christian temple dating to 1,500 b.c.

inside walls of the yeha temple yeha picture of the sacrifice alter

Although much of the temple is lost due to age and poor preservation in previous decades, walls of the once pre christian temple still stands for tourists to admire. The alter where believers used to sacrifice animals and the bath where followers cleanse themselves as dictated in the old testament are still there to see. The brick work used to build this temple are fascinating.

bricks of the yeha temple wall built in 500 bc


While the standing walls of the temple are a source of awe, there is more to see and admire in Yeha. While little is known about the civilization which ruled the town, there are many priceless artifacts kept in a near by church for tourists to admire. The most noteable ones include an incense burner and stones with sabean scripture. A close look at these precious items which, according to archeologists, were artifacts made around 500 b.c , will surely take you back in time.


incense burner dating 500 bc stone articraft dating more than 500 bc stone scriptures of pre christian era

We strongly recommend tourists to visit the town of Yeha which is little explored and promoted but which predates every monument that you find in the country.


Information on how to visit the town of Yeha

Modes of transportation: You will have to go to Mekele and take car to reach Yemerehane Kiristos. To go to Mekele you have the choice of going by car( a 2 day trip) or take a plane. Click on flight schedules in Ethiopia to get up to date information about booking a flight to Mekele.

Temperature: average temperature is 27 degree celcius.

What to wear: anything; avoid wearing shoes with hills for better comfort; wearing a hat could be useful.

Guides: A guide who knows the area is recommended

Security risks: none

Hotels: You will have to book a hotel in neighboring towns or cities. Click on lists of hotels in Axum for tourists for more information

Nearby attractions: Axum, Yemrehane kirstos church.



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