Ethiopia's Church in The Sky: Discover the Church Located in the Rocky Mountains of Ethiopia

Ethiopia's Church in The Sky: Discover the Church Located in the Rocky Mountains of Ethiopia

  • The Abuna Yemata Guh Church in the rocky mountains of Ethiopia's Tigray region has been popularly referred to as the "church in the sky"
  • The church sits at a height of 2,580 metres, and visitors have to climb the highland on foot to reach it
  • The building is famous for its unique architecture, wall paintings from the fifth century, and dome.

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Ethiopia is widely known for its rock formations and highlands. Many of the magnificent churches and monasteries constructed during the height of Christianity's expansion in the country were dug from solid rock and are still in use today. One is the Abuna Yema Guh Church, popularly known as the church in the sky.

Someone stands near the entrance of the church
Someone stands near the entrance of the church. Photo credit: Ethiopia—The Living Churches of an Ancient Kingdom. Source: UGC
Source: UGC

The church dates back to the fifth century and is positioned 650 feet above the ground on the granite face of a vertical-standing rock. Without climbing ropes or harnesses, one must ascend while grappling homemade bridges and scrambling along ledges.

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Watch a video of the climb below.

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The last stage of the ascent entails climbing a rock face 19 feet high. Falling from this height means people will meet their death, so they must be extra cautious. A priest, Father Assefa, had this to say about the Abuna Yemata Guh Church:

The route is blessed. Not one has ever died. Our patron saint saves those who fall with his wind. They are returned to the ledge from halfway down.

The priest further added:

Upon this rock we are closer to God

The walls inside the church are made of sandstone and are decorated with portraits of Bible saints and other writings of the parables found in the holy book.

A priest stares out the window of the church
A priest stares out the window of the church. Photo credit: Ethiopia: The Living Churches of an Ancient Kingdom. Source: UGC
Source: UGC

One of the church's nine saints, Abuna Yemata, erected the church and made the isolated area his dwelling place. The church bell is two stones hanging halfway up the cliff.

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In an earlier article, YEN.com.gh wrote about beautifully painted mud houses in Sirigu village. These mud houses are built by men but decorated with beautiful paintings by women. The mud houses in Sirigu have been the dominant architecture of the village for centuries and have formed part of the community's cultural heritage.

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Source: YEN.com.gh

Authors:
Richmond Setrana avatar

Richmond Setrana Richmond Setrana is a real estate editor for YEN.com.gh with 5 years of writing experience. He graduated from KNUST in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and is currently enrolled in a MA—Mass Communications program with Liverpool John Moores University. He has written for reputable platforms like meqasa.com, Noanyi, Edanra and Yourcommonwealth.org. He can be reached via: richmond.setrana@yen.com.gh

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