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Debre Damo

Monastery

Debre Damo: built in the 6th century AD, with curved wood panels

Debre Damo Monastery is found on the isolated flat-topped mountain in the northern part of Tigray some 85km east of Axum. It is the oldest existing a 6thc and the 1stmonastery in Ethiopia. The mountain is steeply raising plateau of rectangular shape, about 1000 by 400 meters in dimension.

The monastery built in Axumite style with curved wood panels painted ceilings and walls dedicated to Saint (Abune) Aregawi one of Nine Saints” who came to Ethiopia from Syria to spread Christianity. After that, the history of Debre Damo is related with Saint Aregawi who settled on the top of the mountain.

The Monastery is known for its magnificent view and extensive collections of priceless manuscripts. It is only accessible by climbing up by a rope, which is made of “plaited leather”, lowered from the cliffs, which visitors tie around their waist and are then pulled up by a monk at the top of the cliffs. It is restricted to women and male animals.

6th-century monastery, Debre Damo, Tigray. 

Mountains and cliffs of Debre Damo.

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