Mekelle, at 2200 meters above sea level and encircled by a chain of mountains, was a one time capital of Ethiopia. It has a bowl feature with pristine outskirts strewn with nature and man-made wonders. The Romanat and Chele-anqua waterfalls coupled with many cultural heritages like Felegda-ero spotted with historic remains, Selassie Chelekot and Eyesus Hintsa churches are its precious treasures. The city also possesses a museum within the great castle of Emperor Yohannes (1841-1889), the founder of the city. The museum, dominated by the graciously elaborated Throne of Emperor Yohannes, is rich in historical, cultural and religious relics. The city is also well known as a transit point for the camel caravan bringing salt up from the arid lands of the Danakil Depression. This makes the Monday open air market a particularly interesting place to visit. From Mekelle, visitors can make excursions into the Danakil Depression to visit some of the Afar nomads that trek across the region. It is also an ideal place from which to glimpse the countryside and the numerous and mystical medieval rock-hewn churches, cut and hidden in the rocks.
Very near south of Mekelle, a block of mountain named as Girakahisu offers a spectacular unique view down to the plain rich in bird life and surrounding stunning escarpments. The mountain has a flattened top that supports a stretch of pasture, a lake fringed with an archaeological site and an ancient church devoted to St. Mary. The gentle slope that edges the lake in the north has its back covered with an indigenous forest named Hugumbirda. Then to get back to Mekelle, the road climbs mount Ambalage, which served as a fortress before the Adwa Victory in 1896. En route, the ancient churches of Mariam Nazera and Mikael Ara are worth visiting.