Cliff-top Monastery in Ethiopia


When someone listen about Africa the first few things that come into mind includes poverty, wildlife, and hot-dry weather. However, the lesser known fact is that, Africa also has some of the major historical sites.

I was in Ethiopia for professional reasons and it was the end of 2015. There was group of Christian believers planning their pilgrimage from Dessie (where I was staying then) to Aksum (Axum). When listened about the group tour plan from a friend, I was curious and did not hesitate but joined the team.

During our expedition, one of the places that we stopped for exploration was Debre Damo. Very close to Mekelle, one of the major cities in Ethiopia, Debre Damo is famous for its table-top mountain and the monastery that stays on a cliff. Most interesting thing here is the monastery that can only be accessed by climbing 300 meters of vertical heights on a rope. 

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With all enthusiasm and eagerness, I too walked until the foothills but the crowd and the mountain scared me that I contained my trip just until the base. However, many visitors, mostly locals tried their luck to grab one of the two ropes and climb the rock. Some of the succeeded while a few had to decline. 

The place was filled with believers and most of them prayed by standing at lone corners around the rock. I walked around the rock for a while and then returned to our bus to continue our journey through the dry and dusty landscapes of Tigray Region of Ethiopia.