Yeha

Thursday, January 08, 2015
Yeha, Tigray, Ethiopia
Then on towards Axum with a stop at Yeha.

The oldest standing structure in Ethiopia is located in Yeha: the temple of Yeha. This is a tower built in the Sabaean style, and dated through comparison with ancient structures in South Arabia to around 700 BC. Although no radiocarbon dating testing has been performed on samples from site, this date for the Great Tower is supported by local inscriptions. David Phillipson attributes its "excellent preservation" to two factors, "the care with which its original builders ensured a level foundation, firmly placed on the uneven bedrock; and to its rededication -- perhaps as early as the sixth century AD -- for use as a Christian church."

Two other archaeological sites at Yeha include Grat Beal Gebri, a ruined complex distinguished by a portico 10 meters wide and two sets of square pillars, and a graveyard containing several rock-hewn shaft tombs first investigated in the early 1960s.

Yeha has also been the site of a number of archaeological excavations, beginning in 1952 by the Ethiopian Institute of Archeology. Although interrupted during the Derg regime, excavations were resumed in 1993 by a French archaeological team. Thanks Mr Wikipedia.

The stone Great Temple stands 14 m high with 52 layers of masonry.

The last 50 km to Axum was covered in next to no time and time to check into my last Ethiopian hotel: Mana Hotel. Dinner was in the hotel: Pepper Steak 95 birr / NZ$6.30 / US$4.65 plus Castel beer - 113 birr / NZ$7.50 / US$5.50. A lovely new hotel with the staff still learning how to run a hotel but located in an area that I would not want to be walking around at night. It is in a newly developed part of Axum and therefore well away from anything with the roads and neighbouring buildings outside still being built. OK for the overnighter I suppose.

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2022-11-26