Best Ethiopia Tours

Best Ethiopia Tours

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Yeha is the pre axumite standing temple which is found in Tigray some 35km air-line distance north-east of Axum formed in the first millennium BC the political and religious center of the Ethio-Sabaeean community of Di amat. Yeha was one of the most important cities in Tigray. The ruined city was founded at least 2800 years ago and it served as a capital of a pre-Axumite empire called Di amat for centuries prior to being usurped by Axum 100 BC. The relationship between the two ancient capitals is little understood.  Rock-hewn tombs similar to those kings Basen in Axum demonstrate that Yeha had its own dignitaries and rulers. But it is a matter for speculation whether Yeha and Axum were always independent political entities or whether one town ruled over the other. What is clear is that by the time the Axumite Empire entered the most influential period, Yeha was a town of little political significance.

Yeha’s single most remarkable antiquity is a well preserved stone temple that stands 12m high, consists of up to 52 layers of masonry and it was built at least 2500 years ago. Nobody knows what religion was originally practiced in the temple. But appearances suggest that links with the pagan faith of the Sabeaean civilization of South Arabia and inscriptions refer to a deity called IImukah. Abundant engraving of Ibex suggests this animal was some of religious significance.  Yeha also had a fertility cult of sorts and was once decorated by large statue of plump dreadlocked woman, but these statues are now mostly housed in the National Museum in Addis Ababa. 

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