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Gheralta - Churches in the Sky

Gheralta is the home of many churches dated back to 8th century AD and high up in the mountains. The ascending and descending is an adventure by itself. The paintings are colorful and the history is old.


8 hours


Hotel pickup available


Mobile ticket

  • What's included :
      What's excluded :
      • This is a typical itinerary for this product

        Stop At: Nahiso Terara, Ethiopia

        Tour – Gheralta, Abune Abrham and Abreha we Atsbeha
        Duration – A day excursion

        Trip Highlight
        This is an excursion day Cultural and Historic Tigrai tour with-in Tigrai which passes through the scenic highlands of Gheralta, visiting the historic, archaeological, cultural and religious destinations. The trip covers mainly the following attraction sites:
         Gheralta Range, known for the Rock-Hewn Churches and breathtaking landscape
         Wukro Museum, Pre-Axumite archaeological artifacts recently discovered from around Wukro.


        After a morning breakfast, drive to Gheralta to visit Debre Tsion Abune Abrham. It is about 40 minutes’ walk from the escarpment. It is a monastic cliff church carved in to a rusty sandstone face. It has an impressive and unusually symbolic exterior. The interior of the church is lovely decorated. The back walls of the holy of holies, the domes and wall panels are abundantly decorated with fine painting of saints and Apostles. Especially the dome is beautifully adorned with patterns. Because of the simplicity of the lines and colors, the paintings are estimated to be of the 15th century although the church officials prefer to date it, in the 14th century. A 15th century unique circular ceremonial fan (one meter in diameter) with wooden framework makes the visit to this church special. Each of its 34 panels is finely painted with figures of Apostles. Its walls are decorated with many geometrical designs and carvings in relief depicting Angels and Saints. It is indeed a manifestation of the great stone workmanship that was common in the whole of Tigrai both at that time and before.

        Later, drive to the direction of Wukro and en route 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.

        Finally, drive Mekelle via Wukro. After a short coffee break, If time permits, visit the newly well established archaeological museum of Wukro. This museum has interesting collections of Pre-Axumite Sabean artifacts from Adi Akawih and other sites. Interestingly, the archaeological site where most arti facts are collected is situated near the town of Wukro. This site has ancient objects such as a statute of seated women and at its base is an altar with Sabean inscription and a partially inscribed podium. According to a translation by Prof. Nobert Nebes, the inscriptions mention the ancient Sabean-Ethiopian kingdom of D’m’t, the god Almoqah, and for the first time the well-known pre-Axumite temple, ‘Yeha’. On the basis of these same inscriptions, the objects are dated to 7th -6th century B.C. The Almoqah temple of Yeha is much larger than the Almoqah temple of Adi Akaweh, but a good comparable one is the Almoqah temple in Melazo near Axum.

        Duration: 8 hours

      • Departure Point :
        Traveler pickup is offered
        Travelers can also ask where they want to be pickup. As the tourist hotels are not far from each other, the pickup is not a big problem.Airports
        • Alula Aba Nega Airport, Mek'ele, Ethiopia
        Departure Time :
        8:00 AM
        Return Detail :
        Hotel Pickup :
        • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
        • Not wheelchair accessible
        • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
        • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
        • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
        • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
        • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
        • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund
        • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
      • You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.
      • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.



      Age Req.


      Fitness Req.


      Group Size


      Organised by SiyaGo

      Activity ID: V-260538P1

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