Debre Damo church, which is called after Abune Aregawi, is built in Axumite style. The beams and ceiling of the ancient church, around which the monastry is built, are beautifully decorated with carved wooden panels depicting lion, elephant, rhinoceros, snakes, gazelle, antelope, giraffe and camels. Although there are no murals as such,
a large number of paintings are preserved there, including several that depict the legend of the foundation of Debre Damo by Abune Aregawi.

The treasures secreted within, kept intact through the countries 1400 tumultuous years of history because of that arduous, dangerous ascent, include an extensive collection of illuminated manuscripts, among them the olders surviving fragments of texts anywhere in Ethiopia. The church now houses about fifty manuscripts, although the monks claim that they formerly possessed no less than a thousand.

A 9 th century monastery. The original monastery was said to be founded by the 6 th century Emperor Gabre Maskal.
It is a place that is difficult to reach and is not open for woman. Whey you dicide to visit, you need a guide to help you get up the mountain. On the northside of the amba hangs a climing rope; only by climing this rope you can reach the 2 churches on top. At a hight of 500 metres there are 150 monks living. They get there food by the religious people living around the mountain, hoisting up food and water by ropes up on the mountain. One church on top is the oldest of Ethiopia and shows the Aksum style of building with wood and stone.

The landscape around Debre Damo church.
The monks will help you climb up.
The landscape around Debre Damo church.

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Johnny Abyssinia - Tours & Travel in Ethiopia