I am an ancient historian, so I confess I have a special interest in the remains of the oldest civilisation in Ethiopia, found at Yeha (c. 600 BC). Even so, this site surpassed my expectations. The main temple is excellently preserved, with superb quality masonry, and recalls the cellas of Semitictemples I have seen elsewhere in Petra, Palmyra and Baalbek. Alas, it is also covered with protective scaffolding, but you can't have everything.
The temple is in the compound of an old-looking church. Although we didn't get to see inside it, we did see the locals performing a rain dance in the front courtyard, which was fascinating. We also got let into the church's mini-treasury, where priceless pre-Axumite inscriptions were lying around piled up on tablecloths. Magic!
We also saw another ancient structure outside the church compound - this one currently still under excavation. Apparently it is a palace, and there seemed to be evidence of iron-working at it. All very exciting.
Yeha is accessed off the main asphalt road down a rocky track, and feels wonderfully rural, mountainous and remote. Be aware that it is only some 5 miles from the Eritrean border however, which might affect ones views of its safety to visit. For me it was worth the risk.
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