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Abuna Yemata Guh: Philip Lee Harvey climbs mountains to reach some of the worlds most inaccessible Churches

10/15/2014 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

On assignment for Lonely Planet in Northern Ethiopia, photographer Philip Lee Harvey, faces one of his biggest challenges yet, climbing 2.500 foot to photograph one of the most inaccessible churches in Africa, if not the world.

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This is a short video of a hike to the rock hewn church of Abuna Yemata Guh in the area of Gheralta, Tigray, Ethiopia. Carved sometime between the 9th and 11th centuries, this church is famous for its remote location and it is a little difficult to access; it is carved into the side of a rock pinnacle on the edge of a large sandstone mountain. There is a short, near vertical climb close to the top which leads to a narrow ridge between the pinnacle and the adjacent mountain. Two valleys are visible from this narrow ridge, which measures just two to three metres across. Beyond this an even narrower ledge leads to the church itself which is decorated with extensive frescoes dating to the 15th century. While a trip to the church is not for those who suffer from vertigo, or out of shape, the views from the top are really something special.

An offical guide must be picked up in the nearby town of Megab and an offical ticket to enter the church will be issued at the base of the cliff, close to the start of the climb. The priest (with the key) and the local guys who help you climb should be tipped. Over the course of the hike and climb you will ascend approximately 500m, it takes a total of just 2 - 3 hours return from where you leave the car and is a further half an hour back to Megab. It is a great half day trip from Hawsien. I highly recommend the Gheralta Lodge for accommodation in Hawsien. ( Text via )
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