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YEHA (Ethiopia’s First Pre-Axumite Capital)

YEHA (Ethiopia’s First Pre-Axumite Capital)

Yeha is the oldest sacred place in Ethiopia, located at the northern tip of the agricultural hamlet of Tigray region. It was a large Pre-Christian temple consisting of a single oblong chamber. This towering ruins of huge temple of the moon at Yeha is believed to date back to the 5th century BC. However, Heinrich Miller, the 19th century German scholar states that the temple is thought to date back to about seven or eight hundred years before the birth of Christ. This imposing rectangular edifice of a pagan temple with its engraved Walia Ibex on its wall is still intact and testifies to the advanced level of the people of those times. What fascinates most visitors is the masonry work of this ruin still with its well-cut stones, fitted without cement or mortar. The area of the remains of the temple measures 18.5m by 15m and its height stands at 12meters. The temple, with a one side wall ruined, is believed to be the oldest standing building in the country.

The church standing next to this temple was founded by Abba Aftse, one of the Nine Saints. The Original church, having been destroyed by Queen Yodit in the 9th century, was rebuilt incorporating the old finished stone. A fragment form an ancient frieze of ibexes carved in an original manner, has been carefully fitted into the façade of the church.

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