Abuna Yemata Guh dates back to the sixth century, and stepping inside after the climb, you’ll find religious wall paintings from the 15th century all still perfectly, brightly colored.
By Geraldine O’Callaghan (Independent.ie) |
I’ll let you in on the little surprise that’s waiting after you climb the final 200 meters to Abuna Yemata Guh church in Northern Ethiopia.
It takes a lot of effort to get here.
Tigray is a region famous for churches carved into the mountain, and because this is one of the hardest to get to, it’s one of the best-preserved.
Abuna Yemata Guh is 2,580 meters above sea level. The journey involves a tough yet very enjoyable trek, if you’re the outdoorsy type.
But the views are worth the sweat.
At the end of the trek is such a steep climb that a rope and local scout are needed to push and support tourists to get up there. It needs to be done barefoot, as the gaps in the rock are so small that this is the only way you can get a proper grip.
It’s miraculous how people managed to create these hand-carved caves so many hundreds of years ago -actual churches carved into the rock atop of the mountain.
And the surprise? Abuna Yemata Guh dates back to the sixth century, and stepping inside after the climb, you’ll find religious wall paintings from the 15th century all still perfectly, brightly colored.
This is because the sunlight can’t reach inside the cave (if you ever make it there, please don’t use a camera flash or touch the paintings as they’ve been there for centuries before us and hopefully will last centuries after us).
Personally, I relished the chance to act the cat for the day, climbing and using all fours and I sure smiled like a Cheshire cat when I reached the top.
Tucking into injera
Taking in the views from the balcony of Wukro Lodge here, two teenage local sisters approached to ask if they could speak with me. They were so cute and curious of my light skin and freckles… and all they wanted from me was to chat and ask me about the world outside Ethiopia.
I answered their questions with enthusiasm and within minutes they invited me to eat with them. I always grab opportunities like this when traveling, so I humbly accepted and my new friends Meron and Zaid began to teach me how to eat with my right hand only, without using utensils.
Continue reading this story at Independent.ie
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