Yeha Archaeological Site
Yeha Archaeological Site
4

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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles36 reviews
Excellent
10
Very good
14
Average
8
Poor
1
Terrible
3

Nona C
Brier, WA98 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2015 • Couples
This temple is over 2000 years old and has a drainage system and very well-made bricks that have largely stood the test of time. Also on the grounds is an active church and cemetery. The church has interesting relics and wall paintings which the local priest was more than happy to show us. Across the way is another compound of ruins. Our local guide was excellent, and our general guide, Yalew Tafete of Guide Ethiopia Tours who was with us for the entire 3-week trip, answered every question.
Written October 5, 2015
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K72
Melbourne, Australia3,068 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2019 • Friends
Had a good English speaking guide who explained about the temple of the moon....this is said to be the oldest standing structure in Ethiopia. The walls are still mostly in tact but there's no roof and the upper sections are supported by a steel frame now. The museum attached to the complex is tiny and not well set up- the room was full of priests when we arrived and one happily showed us the paintings in the old parchment texts. Having a guide was worthwhile to understand the history of the place.
Written January 5, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

hervecoenen
Johannesburg, South Africa159 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2014 • Friends
We stopped here on our way from Axum to Howzen. You will find it about 50kms outside Axum, 5kms off the main road. This also the same main road you will have to take to Debre Damo Monastery. Before the Yeha turn-off (well indicated), the road will take you through the area where in 1896 the Ethiopian Army defeated the invading Italians at Adwa.
First impression was a bit disappointing, as the place was totally in scaffolding. However, as we went on with the visit, it became more and more fascinating. Not least thanks to the local site guide (it is obligatory, well worth it, and costs about US$10). Archeologists from Germany are involved in on-going research. It was also amazing to hear that villagers in the area regularly find old artifacts in their fields. Our guide told us that, with the exception of some, they bring the finds to the authorities or archeologists.
It is just a mindboggling place. Think of it: about 2500 years ago, when our European forefathers were living in the most rudimentary huts, went hunting for a living, did not know script, etc... a pre-Christian era civilization in Ethiopia built this, and most of it still stands!!!
The modern church on the site was not open to tourists, but the church 'museum' is. In a little, dark room, on the 1st floor, old and more recently found ancient artifacts are kept. The priest responsible also showed us a few bibles and scriptures they keep. One of them was a more than 1000 years old, hand-written on goat skin, with magnificent natural colour miniatures decorating the bible stories. It is frightening that such valuable treasures are kept in these circumstances. Hopefully the planned museum, they have started preliminary construction work, will be able to preserve the books for eternity.
Written January 5, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AssafosL
Columbus, OH25 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2017 • Couples
Summary: Not worth a visit for the price you pay to go there!

In a small village far from Axum (I think it was 45 km) this monastery as an attraction you come to specifically or on the way to Mekale. The compound is surrounded by a wall and once you get there a local quickly shows up and asks for 200 birr a person. For us it was 400 birr total (2 people).
You can hire a guide which is recommended if you really want to see this monastery because there is no small tablets with explanation and otherwise you just look at a stone structure (6 meters tall) and a church.
We got the guide down from 250 birr to 200 birr (No recit). Explanation were short, and the building not that interesting, apparently it's a moon god temple and they used to sacrifice animals there. Then you go to a tiny room where a mink shoes you some “ancient artifacts” that he touches with his hands and just shoved in a closet. From there after the monk asks for a tip (not sure for what..) you see an archaeological digging site with not much in depth explanation. Just that it was a main city even before Axum empire.
For 600 (or 650 after the guide pushed us to giving him a tip) or 30$ (not including the ride) it is a tourist trap and a waste of money. Ethiopia has much more interesting things to offer for your money.
Written July 16, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kim M
Priors Marston, UK197 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2017 • Couples
We were lucky enough to visit Yeha when some German & Italian archaeologists were working there and they told us so much about about the site that is still under excavation.
Remarkably well cut stone, perfect jointing and plumb walls. A seven story house that is being worked on now that was all covered in soil.

Also highly significant Ethiopian Orthodox gospels held in a church building but they are all covered in dust when they should be in a musuem.
REALLY WELL WORTH A VISIT
Written March 1, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jackie H
Swindon, UK291 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2017 • Friends
Drove off the main road and through a very busy village. It was market day so there were lots of people and animals about. We walked up some quite rocky terrain and steps to get to Yeha Temple which is supposed to be the oldest standing structure in Ethiopia. In order to preserve it, there is scaffolding outside and inside. You do need a guide and ours was very informative. We also visited a very small museum on the site which has some interesting archaeological finds. The priest also showed us some religious books that are over a 1000 years old.
Written February 27, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kcdavid100
Greensboro, NC153 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2016 • Couples
While the temple is under needed renovation to keep it intact, it is still worth visiting. There is a small museum on site that offers some interesting archaeological finds that you must visit. The monks will bring out books over 1000 years old for viewing.
Written April 4, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

midway42
Georgia3,116 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2014 • Solo
Located about 30 miles northeast from Axum, the village of Yeha and its associated archeological site are known most importantly for containing the oldest identified building in Ethiopia (The Great Temple) which predates even those in Axum. I visited here on the way back from the Debre Damo monastery with my guide and driver. The site is signposted on the road, sitting a couple miles inside from the finished highway.

After settling our blanket entry fee and meeting our obligatory local guide, we first visited the Great Temple. Wrapped up in scaffolding, the structure was initially a bit underwhelming until I learned some of the finer points of importance about it from my guide. The stone construction and similarity to temples in Yemen set it aside as an important historical building. From there we moved past a newer church constructed in the 1940s (no tourists allowed) and, again, the obligatory church museum with some religious artifacts. From here it was on to an actual on-going archeological site (a joint German/Ethiopian venture) called Grat Be’al Gebri. Whereas the Great Temple was being refurbished, this one was actually begin excavated and a little more difficult to appreciate as a result. As we left the area my guide pointed out the (hopeful) site of a future museum that remains in the imagination for now.

This was definitely the one site in Ethiopia where the overall importance of the attraction and its historical potential outstripped what was available as far as tourist infrastructure. My on-site guide was decent, but for the most part you’re left to the whims of your docent with very little else to add to the experience. I probably learned more about Yeha from a picture book I bought in Axum but there does seem to be improvements being made here which is a good sign. Even more than Axum I think Yeha remains a site to be discovered as an unknown necropolis, a third temple, and sixteen (!) settlements have been identified on archeological surveys.

In summary it’s probably not worth the time and effort for the average tourist to come out here just for this. While it’s certainly possible that in another 50 years everyone might be traveling to Yeha first and then doing day trips to Axum you may want to insert an additional mission on your daily itinerary to make the day worthwhile.
Written April 13, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tanja S
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia1,371 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2013 • Couples
Yeha is breath taking in it size and masonry. It's currently being restored. The temple and palace date from the 8th and 9th century BC. People definitely knew how to build at that time! Temple walls still standing strong! There is also a lovely tiny museum, with unique parchment prayer books. Another must see!

Yeha is about 5 km from the main road to, inter-alia, the Monastery of Debre Damo, which is about 107 from Axum (2.5 hours drive from Axum). Drive is very pleasant, over a lovely scenic route. Entrance to the Monastery is rather boisterous, as hefty monks haul male visitors up with a thick rope. People loudly encourage/give advice. It was a happy event! We passed by the mountains of Adua which is a very historic place as well. BTW, no Tukuls over here. Only stone houses/walls. There's plenty of granite around! NB: cannot upload photos. Too bad!
Written December 1, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ClintWorldWide
Chino, CA145 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2013 • Solo
The Yeha Archaelogical site is definitely worth a visit. I did it as a day trip from Axum, also going to Debre Damo monastery. (This is a wonderful day trip altogether if you are a male. Women not allowed at Debre Damo, an 1000 yo monastery which I found stunning and unique.). The site looks like a big red sandstone cube with a large doorway. It's impressive and you can go in and look around. The huge blocks of sandstone are beautiful. The arid view of Northern Tigray and the rural scenes (complete with camels) was great!

Right next to the site is church of Abuna Aftse which is a new church but still quite picturesque. There is a small museum in which you can see artifacts from the various periods of history of the site. (Some of the old axumite stone carvings with ibexes were my favorites.

There is another site, Grat Beal Gebri just adjacent from the church on the other side of the big square. It is interesting but not that impressive.
Written October 5, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Yeha Archaeological Site, Tigray Region

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