Lonely Planet Traveller Magazine, Issue 66, Ethiopia, In the beginning
Priest sitting on ledge outside Abuna Yemata Guh cave church.

©Philip Lee Harvey/Lonely Planet

Abuna Yemata Guh

Top choice in Rock-hewn Churches of Tigray

There's nowhere on earth quite like Abuna Yemata Guh. Although less impressive architecturally than most, the church is spectacularly sited within a cliff face, halfway up a sheer rock pinnacle 4km west of Megab. The first 45 minutes of the climb is mildly challenging, with a couple of tricky sheer sections requiring toehold action; guides carry ropes (Birr150) for the final push. The last two minutes require nerves of steel to make the final scramble and precarious ledge walk over a 200m drop.

Even if you don't make it all the way, it’s still worth getting to where the ledge begins as the views from the baptism chamber are astounding. Inside are beautiful and well-preserved frescoes that adorn two cupolas, while the bones of monks from the open-air tombs lie around.

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