Ethiopia: Sacred Tigray

107 images Created 18 Jun 2012

Occupying a high plateau and bordering with Eritrea in the very north of Ethiopia lies the ancient Province of Tigray. It is an area widely considered to be the fulcrum of Ethiopian culture with towns dated to before the birth of Christ. Distinctively different from the rest of Ethiopia, strongly Orthodox Christian and culturally proud, Tigray is a mountainous and rocky region dotted with ancient churches carved in to sandstone cliffs. Filling these churches are old religious manuscripts and Bibles safe-guarded by protective Priests. Its remoteness has protected the culture as well as the religious sanctuaries that have been described as "the greatest of the historical-cultural heritages of the Ethiopian people". But now Tigray is at a crossroads. Improved infrastructure has led to an opening up of even the remotest towns and villages. Signs of modernity such as internet cafes and cell phones are increasingly being used by younger Tigraians dressed in jeans and T-shirts. Yet the Church remains an ancient and powerful institution which protects its ancient customs creating scenes that haven’t changed since Biblical times.
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