STEP BACK IN TIME

Exclusively located to seek the origins of early Christianity, this region of Ethiopia offers trails, adrenaline hikes and history for all levels of ability and interest. Historical records indicate Ethiopia to be one of the first nations to adopt Christianity.

By visiting the Gheralta Mountains you will have the wondrous privilege to choose from over 100 churches to visit, ranging from monolithic ones ​(located in the rock)​ to rock-hewn churches ​(carved out completely from the rock)​ – some of them dating back to the 5th century and almost all accessible from our lodge.

We are happy to assist you in any needed arrangements or answer questions prior to your stay with us.

excursion guide

excursion guide

ancient churches of tigray

We put together this guide in order for you to plan excursions for all levels of ability and to your wishes. All named times are the minutes needed from our Lodge to where the path that leads to the individual church begins – one way. Either prior to or at your arrival at the lodge, our staff is available to assist you in facilitating visits to churches.

In any case, we recommend visiting these churches with a guide.

EASY ACCESS

  • 10 min walk from Lodge
    ABUNA TECLE HYMANOT, Hawzen The only church in walking distance, Abuna Tecle Haymanot Church offers itself as first stop for all ability levels.

    20 min drive from Lodge
    MARYAM BERAKIT, Gheralta This church is only a five minute walk, and one of the representatives of the axumite style built churches.

    20-40 min drive from Lodge
    MARYAM PAPASEITY, Gheralta This church holds a semi-monolithic structure and is a 50 min hike from the end of the road.

    20-40 min drive from Lodge
    DEGUM SELASSIE, Degum With a five minute walk easy to access, the beauty of its layout in the rock and the ancient paintings adorning its walls are reason to not miss this church.

  • 20-40 min drive from Lodge
    DEBRE TSION ABUNA ABRAHAM, Degum Enjoy a sensational view from the top of the cliff of Debre Tsion Abuna Abraham. Note though, it’s a 60 min hike up a steep path.

    20-40 min drive from Lodge
    MARYAM AIROFEDA, Degum A 40 minute steep path up leads you to this completely out of rock carved church.

    40-60 min drive from Lodge
    ABRAHA ATSBAHA, Woukro/Degum Dedicated to the twin kings of Axum, this church dates back to the 10th century and is a comfortable five minutes walk.

    40-60 min drive from Lodge
    WOUKRO CHERCOS, Woukro/Degum Built by the two kings Abreha and Atsbeha, this church dates back to the 4th century and is an uncomplicated five minutes walk from the end of the road.

    40-60 min drive from Lodge
    MARYAM WOUKRO, Nebelet A 30 min hike –– please ask prior to your visit about the level of the river as you need to be able to cross it to reach this destination.

  • MODERATE ACCESS

    20-40 min drive from Lodge
    YOHANNES MAEQUDDI, DegumA 60 min steep path leads to the plateau of this rock-hewn church. Yohannes Maequddi is best known for its ancient and well-preserved paintings. They are in good condition because of the non-porous nature of the rock upon which they are painted.40-60 min drive from Lodge

    40-60 min drive from Lodge
    MEDHANE ALEM ADI KESHO, Teka/Tesfay From the highway about an hour walk, accessing this church from the end of the 4WD track, it’s a steep but easy 10 min climb to this church.

    40-60 min drive from Lodge
    PETROS PAWLOS,Teka/Tesfay Little white church in the white mountains (Tsaeda Imba),you can reach this destination within 30 min of hiking.

    40-60 min drive from Lodge
    MIKAEL MILAHIZENGY, Teka/Tesfay All surfaces inside of this church, except the floor, are curved. There is no straight line. A 30 min hike.

    60-90 min drive from Lodge
    BETA YESUS GWAHEGOT, North Hawzen A around an hour hike North of Hawzen.

  • 60-90 min drive from Lodge
    GABRIEL WUKIEN, Tembien A 20 min hike but please note: Women are not admitted to this church!

    60-90 min drive from Lodge
    ABBA YOHANNI, Tembien Located in the same area as Gabriel Wukien,this requires a 45 min hike but please note: Women are not admitted to this church!

    DIFFICULT & VERY DIFFICULT ACCESS

    20 min drive from Lodge
    KORKOR (MARYAM AND DANIEL) Gheralta About a 2 h climb from the Korkor valley, this one is not an easy hike but once you arrive at the top, the 360 degree view of the surroundings will make it all worthwhile.

    20 min drive from Lodge
    ABUNA YEMATA GUH (very difficult), Gheralta Probably one of the most famous churches in this cluster, the climb to this church is not one for the faint-hearted. The route includes a 7 m climb up a wall. The reward of this thrilling hike is the unbelievable heritage of a rock-hewn church dating back to the 6th century and historical gems like a bible that is dated back to the 13th century.

    20-40 min drive from Lodge
    ABUNA GEBRE MIKAEL(very difficult),Koraro This church is carved into a small cliff at the top of a hill and also requires more than two hours to get to. Often a favorite due to its architecture and the paintings covered ceilings.

The most popular access point to Hamed Ela and Dallol of the Danakil Depression is Agula –– only a comfortable one hour drive away from us. We’re here to assist you on any logistical arrangements that have to be made prior to your trip.

famous sites

enjoy a traditional coffee ceremony in hawzen

At the core of Ethiopia’s well-known culture of hospitality is the ritual of the traditional coffee ceremony, with no difference in the closeby community of Hawzen. You are invited to explore the market of the small village and join the locals for coffee.