Yohannes Maequdi

Rock-hewn Churches of Tigray

High atop the mountain and not visible from the ground below, this rectangular chapel has six freestanding pillars that support a ceiling carved with geometrical designs. While it’s best known for well-preserved murals, it’s less striking overall than Abuna Abraham and most visitors remember the intense atmosphere rather than the architecture. It’s accessed from the village of Matari (park by the school) and is around a one-hour walk via a steep footpath.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Rock-hewn Churches of Tigray attractions

1. Abuna Abraham

1.13 MILES

Rectangular in shape, with six massive free-standing pillars, this large and impressive 14th-century church (also known as Debre Tsion) is known for its…

2. Dugem Selassie

2.16 MILES

Built into a small outcrop rather than a big hill, this church feels like a tomb and may have been one before being converted. The 19th-century ‘new’…

3. Maryam Papaseit


In a pretty valley south of Hawzien and signposted off the Megab-Wukro road, Maryam Papaseit is one of the most accessible and rewarding churches in the…

4. Abraha We Atsbeha


Architecturally speaking, this 10th-century church is one of Tigray’s finest. It’s large and cruciform in shape, with cruciform pillars and…

5. Maryam Korkor


Although an unsightly green from the outside, this impressive, cross-shaped church is known for its architectural features (cruciform pillars, arches and…

6. Daniel Korkor

6.31 MILES

Just a couple of minutes’ walk from Maryam Korkor is the seldom-used church of Daniel Korkor. It sits atop a paralysing precipice, offers astounding views…

7. Abuna Yemata Guh

7.26 MILES

There's nowhere on earth quite like Abuna Yemata Guh. Although less impressive architecturally than most, the church is spectacularly sited within a cliff…

8. Abuna Gebre Mikael

9.87 MILES

Though not visited very often, this is considered one of Gheralta’s finest churches. The cruciform plan is hewn into a dome-like rock and it has good…